Uganda high court judge Susan Okalany is among four candidates that have been shortlisted for the election of the prosecutor of International Criminal Court.
Okalany’s candidature was confirmed by a report by the committee of Election of the Prosecutor which was submitted to the Bureau of the Assembly of States, bringing her one step closer to the post, should she emerge winner among the four.
According to the report, Okalany’s lead role in the Kampala Bombings case was one of the leading factors that provided her an edge.
“Ms. Okalny has forged an impressive career under challenging circumstances, steered by a clear vision of the rule of law and justice for victims and a strong streak of independence in the face of political pressure and traditional gender roles,” the report reads in part.
The report also adds that although Okalany’s prosecutorial and judicial experience is limited to the domestic arena, her experience in prosecuting atrocity crimes and addressing sexual and gender-based violence are highly germane to the substance of the ICC work.
“Like other candidates, her 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 Ms. Okalany provided candid and thoughtful responses from the perspective of a situation country; an evident openness to learning and adapting; and resilience in the face of pressure,” the report continued.
Okalany is the in the race with Fergal Gaynor of Ireland. Gaynor is currently the reserve International Co-prosecutor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and was a senior lead counsel for the victims in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ICC case.
Also among contenders is Morris Anyah from Nigeria who is currently a trial attorney in Illinois, USA, and Richard Roy from Canada, a senior general counsel with the public prosecution service of Canada.
Currently, the position of the prosecutor for the ICC is occupied by Fatou Bom Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer and international criminal law prosecutor who has held the position since being elected by consensus in 2012.
In 2017, Okalany was awarded Prosecutor of the Year Award in Beijing, China by the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP).
The award was in recognition of her role in the prosecution of the 2010 Kampala bombing suspects.
According to IAP, the award is “in recognition of her outstanding performance domestically and internationally in the fight against terrorism, by leading the team who performed the first successfully prosecuted case in Africa.”
Okalany, led a team of prosecutors, guided investigations and conducted prosecutions in the terrorism case arising from the July 2010 Kampala bombings that left 76 dead.