Fatou Bensouda, former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), discusses the importance of judicial independence and the rule of law in highly politicised trials. She talks about the challenges she faced as ICC Prosecutor and how she coped with the pressure. She also discusses the impact of the ICC’s jurisprudence on international criminal justice in Africa, the importance of state cooperation, complementarity, and the role of domestic jurisdictions in fighting impunity.Read bio
Richard J. Goldstone, Former Justice at South Africa’s Constitutional Court and founding Chief Prosecutor of the ICTR and ICTY, shares his thoughts on the role of the judiciary in defending human rights and the rule of law during apartheid in South Africa. Judge Goldstone also discusses the relationship between the ICC and African states, as well as the future of international criminal justice on the African continent.Read bio
Akua Kuenyehia, former First Vice-President and Judge of the ICC, discusses the importance of judicial independence and the rule of law when adjudicating international criminal cases. She talks about the future of the ICC-Africa relationship and what needs to be done to see judicial systems across Africa adjudicating international crimes domestically.Read bio
Mohamed Chande Othman, former Chief Justice of Tanzania, discusses the legacy and impact of the ICTR in terms of what this means for the application of international criminal law in Africa. He describes how national jurisdictions can integrate ICTR jurisprudence into their own national systems to better adjudicate international crimes domestically. The former Chief Justice shares his thoughts on the major challenges facing the judiciary in Tanzania, and on other issues, such as judicial independence, the rule of law, and the future of the adjudication of international criminal cases on the African continent.
Susan Okalany is a judge at the International Crimes Division (ICD) of the High Court of Uganda. In this interview, she discusses the challenges judges face when adjudicating international criminal cases at the ICD. She touches upon the relationship between international and transnational crimes and how linking these two crime sets together can help address violence and atrocity, and contemplates the future of the prosecution and adjudication of international crimes in Uganda.Read bio
Elizabeth Ibanda Nahamya is a judge at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT). She discusses how IRMCT jurisprudence is also being used by domestic jurisdictions in Africa to prosecute and adjudicate international crimes. Judge Nahamya talks about the relationship between the IRMCT, domestic judiciaries, truth and reconciliation commissions, regional and international courts. Along with the challenges she faced when adjudicating crimes against humanity and war crimes in the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda, she examines judicial independence, the rule of law and the future of the adjudication of international criminal cases on the African continent.Read bio
Nigerian Federal High Court Judge Binta Nyako talks about justice and accountability for crimes committed by Boko Haram in Nigeria. She discusses the challenges and difficulties faced when adjudicating these terrorism cases and the lessons learnt for future trials. Justice Nyako also talks about the adjudication of sexual violence crimes allegedly committed by Boko Haram members.
Betty Murungi, transitional justice expert and Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, discusses accountability for cases involving gender-based violence on the African continent, with specific attention to the impact of the recent trial of those responsible for sexual violence crimes committed during the post-election violence in Kenya. Other topic areas covered are accountability mechanisms in Sierra Leone and South Sudan, judicial independence, the rule of law, and the future of the adjudication of international criminal cases on the African continent.Read bio
Howard Varney, Senior Programme Adviser at the International Centre for Transitional Justice, discusses how apartheid crimes can be prosecuted in local courts in South Africa, and whether apartheid can be tried as a crime against humanity. In addition, he talks about judicial independence, the rule of law, and the future of the adjudication of international criminal cases on the African continent.Read bio
Former Prosecutor of The International Criminal Court
Dr. Fatou Bensouda of The Gambia served as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for nine years, from 2012 to 2021, having been elected to the post by consensus of the Assembly of States Parties on 12 December 2011 and sworn in on 15 June 2012.
Between 1987 and 2000, Mrs. Bensouda successively held the posts of Senior State Counsel, Principal State Counsel, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Solicitor General and Legal Secretary of the Republic, and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, in which capacity she served as Chief Legal Advisor to the President and Cabinet of The Republic of The Gambia. She has also served as a General Manager of a leading commercial bank in The Gambia.
Her international career as a non-government civil servant formally began at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where she worked as a legal adviser and trial attorney before rising to the position of Senior Legal Advisor and Head of the Legal Advisory Unit in the years from 2002 to 2004, after which she joined the ICC as the Court’s first Deputy Prosecutor.
Mrs. Bensouda has served as delegate to United Nations conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity’s Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and as delegate of The Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the ICC.
Mrs. Bensouda has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the distinguished ICJ International Jurists Award (2009) presented by the then President of India P. D. Patil, and the 2011 World Peace Through Law Award presented by the Whitney Harris World Law Institute, Washington University, which recognised her work in advancing the rule of law and thereby contributing to world peace. In October 2021, at the end of her mandate, she was awarded The Outstanding Achievement Award by The International Law Association American Branch.
She is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Middlesex University and Vrije Universiteit, Brussels respectively, and holds a Master of Laws from the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta, making her The Gambia’s first expert in international maritime law and the law of the sea.
Mrs. Bensouda has been listed: by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world (2012); by the New African magazine as one of the “Most Influential Africans;” by Foreign Policy as one of the “Leading Global Thinkers” (2013); and by Jeune Afrique as one of 20 African women who, by their actions and initiatives in their respective roles, advance the African continent (2014).
Former Justice at South Africa’s Constitutional Court
Founding Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) and the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA)
Richard J. Goldstone graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand with a BA. LLB. cum laude in 1962. After practising as an Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar, he was appointed Senior Counsel in 1976, made Judge of the Transvaal Supreme Court in 1980, and appointed Judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in 1989. From 1991 to 1994, he served as Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, which came to be known as the Goldstone Commission. From July 1994 to October 2003, he was a Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, where he played a major role in the transition from apartheid South Africa to democracy. He is a member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, an independent group of senior African experts on international criminal law and human rights, including political figures, members of international and domestic tribunals, and human rights advocates that came together in November 2015 to strengthen justice and accountability in Africa
From August 1994 to September 1996, he served as the Chief Prosecutor of the UN International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. He has served as an expert in several commissions, high-level groups and task forces, including the International Independent Inquiry on Kosovo, the International Task Force on Terrorism, the Investigation into the Iraq Oil for Food Programme and the UN Fact Finding Mission on possible war crimes and international human rights violations committed in Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009. On 6 December 2019, he was appointed by the ICC Assembly of States Parties to the Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute System. As Chair of the Review, he led a team of eight other experts mandated to make recommendations on reforms to the Court.
Goldstone received the 1994 International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association, the 2005 Thomas J. Dodd Prize in International Justice and Human Rights, and the 2009 MacArthur Award for International Justice, announced by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He is the author of “For Humanity: Reflections of a War Crimes Investigator” (2001), and the co-author of “International Judicial Institutions: the Architecture of International Justice at Home and Abroad” (2008).
Former First Vice-President and Judge of the International Criminal Court
Former Law Dean of the University of Ghana
In February 2003, H.E. Judge Kuenyehia was nominated by the Government of Ghana and elected as judge of the International Criminal Court, where she served in various capacities until 2015.
H.E. Judge Kuenyehia obtained her first degree from the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon. She then attended Somerville College, Oxford University, where she obtained a BCL, and shortly thereafter became the first female to be appointed as a law professor at the University of Ghana. While at the university, she taught criminal law, gender and the law, international human rights law and public international law.
She is a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Ghana and has extensive experience as a solicitor, advocate, and law teacher. Judge Kuenyehia served as Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana for seven years before her election to the International Criminal Court. Outside the university sphere, she has, among other things, been a member of the UN Expert Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Council of Cape Coast University, and the Board of Directors of Barclays Bank, Ghana Limited.
Judge Kuenyehia has also taught as a visiting professor at other institutions, including Leiden University, and Temple University in the USA. She is the President of Mountcrest University College, Ghana. She has been a pioneer as an advocate of equal opportunity, justice and development for women, both in Ghana and around the world. She is co-author of a textbook on Women and Law in Sub-Saharan Africa, published in August 2003, and in 2018, co-edited “International courts and the African woman judge: unveiled narrative”, a study on gender and judiciary in Africa. The Akua Kuenyehia Foundation, which was founded by her children in her honour, is a private foundation committed to the development and empowerment, through formal education, of women in Ghana.
Former Chief Justice of Tanzania
Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA)
Mohamed Chande Othman is a former Chief Justice of Tanzania, a position he held from 28 December 2010 to 18 January 2017, after stints as both a High Court and Appeal Court Judge. He currently holds the following posts: Chancellor of Ardhi University, Tanzania; Chairperson, Council of Sokoine University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences; member of the Board of Trustees, The Aga Khan University; member of the Elders Council of the African Judges and Jurists Forum; and, member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, an independent group of senior African experts on international criminal law and human rights, including political figures, members of international and domestic tribunals, and human rights advocates that came together in November 2015 to strengthen justice and accountability in Africa. Aside from acting as one of the Special Advisers (without portfolio) to the Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court, Othman also serves as an Eminent Person, appointed by the UN Secretary-General under a UN General Assembly mandate and charged with the examination of new information relating to the tragic death on 17-18th September 1961 of the 2nd UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, and other members of his party. In 2019-2020 he acted as one of nine experts appointed by the Assembly of State Parties to the Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute System.
Justice Othman’s previous experience includes that of Prosecutor General of East Timor, Chief of Prosecutions of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and Senior Legal Adviser to the Prosecutor of the ICTR. He has also served as a member of the UN Human Rights Council’s High-Level Commission of Inquiry into the Situation in Lebanon following the Israel-Lebanon Armed Conflict in 2006, and as the UN Human Rights Council‘s Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Sudan (2009-2010). In addition, he has also worked with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
His publications include books and peer-reviewed articles on international humanitarian law, refugee law, criminal law and evidence, and peacekeeping.
Judge of the International Crimes Division, High Court of Uganda
Justice Susan Okalany is a judge of the High Court of Uganda following her appointment to the Bench in 2016. She currently serves in the International Crimes Division of the High Court. She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University in 1993 and received a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre in Kampala, Uganda, the following year. She thereafter worked in international and private organisations, before joining the Directorate of Public Prosecutions of Uganda, where she served in various districts across the country, in roles of increasing responsibility.
She was later posted to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions head office as Head of the Department of Gender, Children and Sexual Offences and successfully prosecuted several high profile cases involving serious crimes, including the Kampala 2010 Bombings case, where she was the lead prosecutor. In recognition of her role in this case, she received the Prosecutor of the Year Award from the International Association of Prosecutors in 2017.
In June 2020, Justice Okalany was shortlisted by the Committee on the Election of the Prosecutor as one of four contenders to take over as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
Judge of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals
Elizabeth Ibanda Nahamya is a judge at the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, a position she has held since 22 March 2018. She served as a distinguished judge at the International Crimes Division of the High Court of Uganda from 2009 to 2017. In 2013, she was listed on the roster of eminent judges for the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone.
Justice Nahamya began her legal career in Uganda, where she worked as a lawyer in private practice, with a short stint at the Ministry of Justice. She subsequently went on to establish her own private law practice, where she worked from 1993 to 1996. After acting as Trial Chamber Coordinator at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha from 1996 to 2004, she served as Principal Defender and later Deputy Principal Defender at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, between 2004 and 2008.
Justice Nahamya has lectured at the Ahmadu Bello University Kaduna State Nigeria, National University of Lesotho, and Law Development Centre in Uganda. In addition to her work with the Central Bank of Lesotho, she has acted on a consultancy basis for a number of organisations, including the Ministries of Finance and Justice in Uganda, and the World Bank.
She has a Masters degree in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven, CT (1980), a Bachelor’s degree from Makerere University Kampala, Uganda (1975), and several professional certifications.
Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria
The Honourable Justice B.F.M Nyako has been a Judge of the Federal High Court in Nigeria since July 2000. She began her legal career as a State Counsel with the Ministry of Justice, Kaduna State, in 1983.
Justice Nyako trained as a legal draftsperson, obtaining the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Corporation Certificate of Legal Drafting in 1987. She worked as a legal draftsperson from 1987to 1992, rising through the ranks as she gained more responsibilities. She served as Solicitor General and Director General from 1989 to 1992, before moving to the Ministry of Agriculture in November 1993 as Director General. She thereafter served as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice between 1994 and 1996. Justice Nyako later became a member of the Local Government Council Election Appeal Tribunal, before rising to the position of judge. Justice Nyako is one of four judges who was assigned to the Boko Haram terrorism cases held in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, in 2017 and 2018, and will also be part of the judiciary in the upcoming Kainji trials. She is currently presiding over the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, a Biafran separatist organisation whose stated aim is to restore an independent state of Biafra in the old eastern region of Nigeria.
Transitional Justice expert and Advocate of the High Court of Kenya
Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability (AGJA)
Member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, Kaari Betty Murungi is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya with over 30 years’ experience in the practice of law at a national, regional and international level. Educated at the University of Nairobi and Kenya School of Law, she spent a year as a visiting fellow at the Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Programme, researching transitional justice mechanisms. She is currently Professor of Practice in the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and works as an independent consultant.
Ms. Murungi has broad experience in transitional justice processes, women’s human rights, gender, constitutionalism and governance. Over the past two decades, the focus of her interest and work has been to advance gender justice in international justice and accountability mechanisms, and to promote women’s human rights in the context of violent conflict. Ms. Murungi has worked on these issues in Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Northern Uganda, South Sudan and Kenya. She has been an integral player in the jurisprudence of international criminal law and international humanitarian law insofar as it pertains to gender.
Ms. Murungi served: as Vice Chairperson and Commissioner to the Kenya Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission (2009-2010); as the Africa representative on the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims at the International Criminal Court (2009-2013); as Senior Transitional Justice Advisor to the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), South Sudan (2016-2018); and, as a member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry for the Occupied Palestinian Territory appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council (July 2018- March 2019). She is a member of the Africa Group for Justice and Accountability, an independent group of senior African experts on international criminal law and human rights, including political figures, members of international and domestic tribunals, and human rights advocates that came together in November 2015 to strengthen justice and accountability in Africa.
Senior Programme Adviser at the International Centre for Transitional Justice
Advocate at the Johannesburg Bar, South Africa
Howard Varney is a senior programme adviser at the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). His areas of expertise includes investigations, prosecutions, institutional reform and reparations. He is also an advocate at the Johannesburg Bar where he practices public interest and constitutional litigation. Varney is a member of Asia Justice & Rights’ International Board of Advisers. He is a faculty member of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and a member of the London-based Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers.
In the early 1990s, Varney was an attorney with the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa, where he represented victims of political violence in public interest litigation, judicial inquests, and commissions of inquiry. In the mid-1990s he led an independent criminal investigation in South Africa into organised political crime, which resulted in significant criminal trials. He was the Chief Investigator for the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission and has worked with several truth commissions around the world.
As a consultant for ICTJ he has assisted with the development of transitional justice initiatives in several countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, and the Balkans. He continues to represent victims of past conflicts in the courts of South Africa to vindicate their rights. He has published papers and articles on truth and reconciliation commissions, commissions of inquiry, post-conflict justice, amnesties, the relationship between war crime tribunals and truth commissions, small arms control and guarantees of non-recurrence.