The International Criminal Court in session. The 123-member Hague-based court, which began work nearly 20 years ago, handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes of aggression/Photo: ICC

British lawyer elected new Chief Prosecutor of International Criminal Court

 Britain’s Karim Ahmad Khan was elected on Friday by the parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the new chief prosecutor for a nine-year term starting in June.

The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court held its second resumed nineteenth session on 12 February 2021 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Khan, who is currently serving as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, won a secret ballot against three other candidates to replace lead prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of Gambia. The 123-member Hague-based court, which began work nearly 20 years ago, handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes of aggression.

The outgoing Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ICC, Gambian Fatou Bensouda / Photo: ICC

 

The British lawyer Khan, a specialist in international criminal law and international human rights law, is best known for heading the United Nations’ special investigative team looking into Islamic State crimes in Iraq.

He has also worked as a lead defence counsel on cases involving suspects from Kenya, Sudan and Libya at the ICC.

“Karim’s extensive experience in international law will be pivotal in ensuring we hold those responsible for the most heinous crimes to account and gain justice for their victims,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab posted on Twitter.

“I congratulate Karim Khan QC on his election as the next ICC Prosecutor. I look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth & effective transition to the start of his term in June, taking over the Office’s independent & impartial mandate,” Fatou Bensouda said in a statement on the election of her successor.

Ms Bensouda will hand over to Mr Khan on 16 June. 

Adira Kallo

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