I was reading a recent issue of Time magazine at the doctor’s office, the one listing the 100 most influential people in the world, and I was struck by one person in particular: a beautiful and inspiring woman over 50, Fatou Bensouda. Ms. Bensouda, 51, will become on June 16th “the first African woman to assume the top job at an international tribunal” when she takes over as Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC has the job of prosecuting those responsible “for the most serious crimes—genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity” when civil courts fail.
Ms. Bensouda is particularly inspirational to me because her previous experience includes successfully prosecuting Rwanda’s genocidaires. She has been a Deputy Prosecutor in charge of the Prosecutions Division of the ICC since 2004. She also has a very interesting life story. As Rebecca Lowe writes in an article in The Guardian, Bensouda “was raised in Banjul, The Gambia, by two mothers: her real mother and her father’s other wife, who lived under the same roof along with her own children…”. To Westerners such an arrangement may seem distinctly uncomfortable. In Gambia, however, polygamy is a widely accepted practice, and one – for Bensouda, at least – that worked extraordinarily well. “We were close to both mothers,” she says. “All the siblings were close. We did not have this unfortunate rivalry that sometimes happens in polygamous families, and we were all very good to one another.”
Bensouda has been the recipient of various awards, most notably, the distinguished ICJ International Jurists Award (2009), which was presented by the President of India. Bensouda was given this award for her contributions to criminal law both at the national and international level. Bensouda has also been awarded the 2011 World Peace Through Law Award presented by the Whitney Harris World Law Institute, at Washington University, recognizing her work in considerably advancing the rule of law and thereby contributing to world peace.
Here’s a link to the Time magazine article:
Check her out!