Lawyers seek ICC prosecutor’s suspension

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By Omar Bah

Criminal lawyer Carlos Ramirez Lopez and Walter Marquez, retired deputy to the National Assembly of Venezuela and president of El Amparo Foundation, have lodged a formal complaint against the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Fatou Bensouda.

The two submitted their complaints before the head of Independent Oversight Mechanism (IOM) of the ICC, Saklaine Hedaraly, seeking Bensouda’s suspension after they claim to have analyzed and consigned evidence that accuses the official as a serious human rights violator in The Gambia.

“In accordance with paragraph 1, article 46 of the Rome Statute, relating to the functioning of the ICC, in accordance with Rule 24 paragraph 1 section a.ii, of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, we file this complaint against the Chief Prosecutor, for gross negligence in the exercise of her duties, for concealing information or circumstances of a sufficiently serious nature to have precluded her from holding office, and for having committed serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity before her official functions, which are of a grave nature that causes damage to the standing of the Court,” Marquez explained.

The complainants Ramírez and Márquez said that Bensouda participated in personal and direct actions that violate human rights as well as crimes against humanity committed against citizens of The Gambia, during the military dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh, between 1994 and 2002, to whom she served in various positions of the judicial repression apparatus of the regime as Prosecutor, Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

They indicated that on July 11, 2019, the JusticeInfo.Net media of the Hirondelle Foundation published a report under the signature of journalists Thierry Cruvelier and Mustapha K. Darboe, a citizen of Gambia, who included a chapter entitled “Will Fatou Bensouda face the Truth Commission in Gambia?” , in which they certify that several citizens of that country, including Batch Samba Jallow and Sainey Faye declared before the Commission that Fatou Bensouda personally participated in the serious human rights violations committed by the military regime.

The report notes that Bensouda joined the cruel dictatorship of this country in 1994, where multiple and serious human rights violations were committed through systematic practices of acts of torture, fabrication of evidence, illegal detentions, enforced disappearances and deaths in custody, and adds that the current ICC prosecutor only stopped participating in those criminal acts when in 2002 she was hired to work in the International Criminal Court for Rwanda, and then in 2004 when she was appointed Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court .

Carlos Ramirez Lopez and Walter Marquez pointed out that the Rome Statute in its article 42.3 requires that the Prosecutor must have a “high moral consideration”, and the actions of Fatou Bensouda, are contrary to ethics and moral force that should guide this official position.