Karim Khan from the United Kingdom has been elected as the next International Criminal Court Prosecutor for a nine-year term starting on June 16.
The Briton won a secret ballot after beating three other candidates to replace lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. This is after The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (“the Assembly”) held its second resumed nineteenth session on 12 February 2021 at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The 123-member Hague-based court, which began work nearly two decades ago, handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of aggression.
British barrister Karim is best known for heading the United Nations’ special investigative team looking into Islamic State crimes in Iraq.
In his 27-year law career Khan, who is also Queens Counsel, has worked for almost every international criminal tribunal in roles in prosecution, defence, and as counsel for victims.
At the ICC Khan is best known for being a lead defense counsel who has worked on cases from Kenya, Sudan, and Libya.
The Assembly also elected the two Vice-Presidents for the twentieth to the twenty-second sessions of the Assembly, Mr. Robert Keith Rae (Canada) and Ms. Katerina Sequensova (Czech Republic).
The President of the Assembly, Mr. O-Gon Kwon, concluded his term noting in a pre-recorded statement that “it has been a great honor to serve as President for the last three years. We have faced some interesting times during that period. These included a very heavy agenda of important matters for the future of the Court and the Assembly, and – over the last year – the additional challenges of a global pandemic,” and concluded by reiterating his “sincere gratitude for the support of all stakeholders in [his] time as President of the Assembly”.
The new Bureau will assume office as of 13 February 2021 until the end of the Assembly of States Parties in December 2023.
The incoming President of the Assembly, Ms. Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi, noted in a pre-recorded statement that “our shared values and commitments under the Rome Statute were tested as never before and we came to realize both the vulnerabilities and the strengths of the institution that we created two decades ago.
” She added that “the consideration and follow up of the Independent Expert Review is a top priority of this Assembly,” and that she is “committed to promoting this follow up and to provide all the necessary support to those in charge of this endeavor”.
The twentieth session of the Assembly will be held from 6 to 11 December 2021 in The Hague.
(With input from the ICC)