Interview with Gberdao Gustave Kam, of Burkina Faso, president of the Extraordinary African Chamber of Assises
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Question 1: Could you describe your background?
I obtained my baccalaurĂ©at in 1968 and then went to university in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from where I graduated with a Masterâ€™s in law in 1983. In then attended judgesâ€™ school. I became a judge in 1985, starting out as a prosecuting judge. After 1987, I was assigned to what were then called community legal aid clinics where the focus was on defence. Two or three years thereafter, I returned to my career as a judge and headed a number of courts until 1996, the year I was named prosecutor general of the Ouagadougou appeals court. From 1999 to 2002, I worked in the Ministry of Justice. In 2002, I travelled with Burkina Faso delegations to New York to prepare the legal instruments of the International Criminal Court. In 2003, I was elected judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The tribunal closed down in 2012.
Â Question 2: Could you describe yours duties within the EAC?
As trial chamber president, I perform the usual duties of a judge. Being president entails spurring others take action and having a degree of control over the work of the Court. The president is assigned specific duties, including that of conducting the trial proceedings. As for the administration of the African Chambers, an administrator was appointed for that purpose. I only perform adjudicative duties.
Question 3: What will be the legacy of the EAC?
Generally speaking, I must say that it is challenge not only for us judges but also for Africa as a whole in that we have set up a court to try a former head of state. We hope that the court will pave the way for an inter-African court capable of handling African cases involving international crimes. Looking at the current permanent international tribunals, for example the ICC, I see only Africans [being prosecuted],Â and this is why I would like Africans to take over this kind of cases.