Greater than 120 nations elected British lawyer Karim Khan as the following prosecutor of the Worldwide Legal Court docket (ICC), one of many hardest jobs in worldwide legislation as a result of the tribunal seeks justice for the world’s worst atrocities – conflict crimes, crimes in opposition to humanity, and genocide.
Khan, 50, who led a United Nations probe into atrocities by the ISIL (ISIS) group, received on a second spherical of voting on the UN in New York on Friday with help from 72 nations, 10 greater than the 62 wanted.
His election on the second secret poll by the 123 events to the Rome Statute that established the court docket ends a drawn-out and divisive course of to switch Fatou Bensouda when her nine-year time period expires in June.
Khan, who has specialised in worldwide legal legislation and worldwide human rights legislation, was extensively seen because the favorite to get the job. However neither he nor any of the opposite candidates garnered sufficient help to be appointed by consensus, prompting Friday’s election within the UN Basic Meeting Corridor.
Al Jazeera’s James Bays, reporting from the UN headquarters in New York, stated it was the primary time because the ICC began work nearly 20 years in the past that the 123 nations which might be a part of the court docket elected the brand new chief prosecutor after a candidate couldn’t be agreed by consensus.
Though that is an impartial authorized place, Bays stated, the whole lot in regards to the ICC “finally ends up being politically charged”.
“Quite a lot of his early selections are sure to be controversial, whichever course he takes.”
Following Khan, Fergal Gaynor of Eire was second with 42 votes adopted by Spain’s Carlos Castresana Fernandez with 5 votes and Francesco Lo Voi of Italy with three votes. One member didn’t vote.
Khan, who has the rank of a UN assistant secretary-general, has additionally labored as a prosecutor on the tribunal prosecuting conflict crimes in former Yugoslavia and crimes in opposition to humanity and genocide in Rwanda.
He’s no stranger to the ICC, having acted as a defence lawyer for Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto and persuading judges to throw out prosecution prices in opposition to his shopper. Gaynor acted as a authorized consultant for victims within the Ruto case, which targeted on post-election violence.
Khan additionally served as counsel for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan chief Muammar Gaddafi, who remains to be being sought by the ICC on prices of crimes in opposition to humanity.
“Karim Khan’s election as prosecutor is happening at a time when the ICC is required greater than ever however has confronted important challenges and stress on its position,” stated Richard Dicker, worldwide justice director at Human Rights Watch.
“We might be seeking to Mr Khan to handle shortcomings within the court docket’s efficiency whereas demonstrating agency independence in looking for to carry even essentially the most highly effective rights abusers to account.”
Whereas the Safety Council has used its energy below the Rome Statute to refer conflicts in Sudan’s western Darfur area and in Libya to the ICC, requires the UN’s strongest physique to refer Syria, and extra just lately Myanmar, to the tribunal have failed.
‘An existential risk’
Within the final a number of years, Bensouda had sought to broaden its attain past its early all-African focus together with Afghanistan, Palestine, which is a celebration to the Rome Statute, and Georgia.
The ICC is required greater than ever, Dicker stated, “due to the proliferation of those horrific crimes”, however the court docket had confronted “an existential risk” from former US President Donald Trump’s administration.
It slapped sanctions on Bensouda and one among her high aides final yr for persevering with to research conflict crimes allegations in opposition to Individuals, though the court docket was typically criticised prior to now for its deal with African crimes.
Final week, ICC judges angered Israel by saying the court docket’s jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by Israel within the 1967 conflict, doubtlessly clearing the way in which for the prosecutor to open an investigation into Israeli army actions and the nation’s building of unlawful Jewish settlements within the occupied West Financial institution and annexed East Jerusalem.
Whereas Palestinian rights teams welcomed the transfer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to as the choice a “perversion of justice”.
The choice course of for the prosecutor and the alleged failure by the ICC’s Meeting of States Events to conduct stringent background checks on the candidates to make sure they met the requirement of “excessive ethical character” has drawn criticism from civil society teams that work with the court docket.
A diplomat who spoke on situation of anonymity to debate particulars of closed conferences stated the truth that most of the conferences to debate attainable successors to Bensouda occurred just about made it troublesome for member nations to debate considerations throughout casual “hall” conferences.