British human rights lawyer voted new Intl. Criminal Court chief prosecutor


Member countries of the International Criminal Court (ICC) elected British lawyer Karim Khan on Friday as the next chief prosecutor, replacing Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda of Ghana whose term will end on June 16.

In its second ballot, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Mr. Khan won a secret ballot against three other candidates with 72 votes, surpassing the majority requirement of 62.

The other candidates, bested by Mr. Khan, were Carlos Castresana Fernández, Prosecutor of the Court of Auditors of Spain; Francesco Lo Voi, Chief Prosecutor of Palermo, Italy; and Fergal Gaynor, from Ireland, Deputy International Co-Prosecutor at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and Senior Counsel at the ICC.

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 President of the Assembly of States Parties, O-Gon Kwon, applauded Mr. Khan on Twitter, saying “Warm congratulations! Thank you all for your hard work!!”

British barrister Mr. Khan is best known for heading the United Nations’ special investigative team looking into Islamic State crimes in Iraq.

This is in 2018, when UN Secretary-General António Guterres appointed him as Special Adviser assisting the Iraqi Government to hold ISIL terrorists accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity and genocide.

In his 28-year law career, including as a Queen’s Counsel in the UK, Mr. Khan has worked as a prosecutor, victim attorney and defence lawyer in national and international criminal tribunals, including the ICC, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former -Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Extraordinary Chambers within the Cambodian Courts (ECCC), the Special Court for Lebanon and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

The Prosecutor-elect holds law degrees from King’s College and the University of London and has studied and taught Islamic law.

Moreover, Mr. Khan is the author of numerous publications in the field of international criminal justice and human rights. (Source: UN News)