High Court judge, Susan Okalany, has been shortlisted for the coveted job of the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, Netherlands.
Justice Okalany is among the last four candidates shortlisted out of a total of 144 applicants.
The shortlist was made by the committee on the election of the prosecutor of the Assembly of State parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.
“The committee taking into account also of the views of the panel of experts, unanimously, agreed and is confident that each of the candidates proposed herein, not only meets the formal eligibility criteria of the Rome Statute, but also has the professional experience and expertise and the necessary personal qualities to perform the role of prosecutor,” the search committee wrote in their report released on June 30.
According to Article 42 of the Rome Statute, the court’s founding law, the chief prosecutor shall have full authority over the management and administration of the office of the prosecutor, including the staff, facilities and other resources thereof.
The other candidates shortlisted along Justice Okalany are Mr Morris A Anyah (Nigeria), a trial attorney in the law office of Morris A Anyah LLC in Chicago, USA, Mr Fergal Gaynor (Ireland), a reserve international co-prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the courts of Cambodia and Mr Richard Roy (Canada), a senior counsel with Public Prosecution service of Canada.
One of the key competencies that the election committee looked out for among the applicants was “high moral character”.
Justice Okalany is currently attached to the Family Division of the High Court but she is often assigned work at the International Crimes Division (ICD), a division that deals with cases related to those heard before the ICC.
Her training and background are in common law legal tradition.
Prior to being appointed a High Court judge in 2016, she worked in the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), where among other duties, headed a department of gender, children and sexual offenses.
She also led a prosecution team that prosecuted the infamous 2010 Kampala twin bombings and secured convictions.
She also successfully prosecuted the murder case of Kampala businessman Juvenal Nsenga, whose wife, Ms Jacqueline Uwera, was found guilty of running over him with a car at their family home in Bugolobi.
The election committee also found that although her prosecutorial and judicial experience is limited to a domestic arena, her experience in prosecuting atrocity crimes and addressing sexual and gender based violence, are highly germane to the substance of the court’s work.
Further, the election committee found that just like her competitors, Justice Okalany’s managerial experience is limited to smaller teams but she demonstrated a clear understanding of the competencies required including financial stewardship as well as a proven track record of embracing new challenges in the interview.
The election of the new ICC chief prosecutor is scheduled for the 19th session of the Assembly of States Parties, to be held in December 2020 in New York.
The new chief prosecutor will replace Ms Fatou Bensouda (from Gambia), whose term in office is ending.
The new prosecutor will assume office between March and April 2021.