The Hague, October 25, 2011 (FH) - The Search Committee for a new Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) presented on Tuesday its conclusions to the Assembly of State Parties, shortlisting four candidates out of 52 for the succession of Luis Moreno Ocampo.

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The Committee was set up in February 2011 "to facilitate the nomination and election by consensus of the next Prosecutor".

Widely considered to be the front-runner, Fatou Bensouda from Gambia has been Deputy Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court since 2004 after working as a Legal adviser at the ICTR. She had previously served as Attorney General and Minister of Justice in her home country. In July 2011, the African Union officially endorsed her candidacy.

Andrew T. Cayley, who is British and currently international co-Prosecutor before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, could become ICC's Vice-Prosecutor if Bensouda were to be elected. According to several sources, European states representatives have suggested in private that they would favor Bensouda's nomination if the position of Vice-Prosecutor were given to a West-European candidate.

Cayley was an Officer of the British Army from 1991 to 1998. He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) from 1996 to 2005, first as a member of the Prosecution team, then as a Defence lawyer. From 2005 to 2007 he was in charge of the Darfur case at the ICC's Office of the Prosecutor.

The second African candidate, Mohamed Othman, is currently Chief Justice of Tanzania. He joined the ICTR in 1996 and was appointed Chief of Prosecutions in 1998. After 2000, he worked on several international justice issues in various countries, including Cambodia, East Timor, Sudan and Lebanon.

The fourth candidate, Robert Petit, is currently Counsel in the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section of the Justice Department in Canada. He held different positions at the ICTR, the Special Court for Sierra Leone and in Kosovo.

State Parties' President Christian Wenaweser is slated to confer with member states in the coming weeks in view of the designation by consensus one of the four candidates..

The winner should be officially announced in December during the next Assembly of the State Parties. However, if one the member states fielded a non-endorsed candidate, the consensual process would be abandoned and the next Prosecutor would need an absolute majority among the 119 members states to be elected.


© Hirondelle News Agency