British lawyer Karim Khan elected future prosecutor general of the ICC

The member countries of the International Criminal Court (ICC) therefore elected, on Friday February 12, a 50-year-old British lawyer, Karim Khan, as the next attorney general, an exposed post which is worth to the current incumbent, the Gambian Fatou Bensouda, d ‘be under US sanctions.

Karim Khan was chosen against three other European candidates in the second ballot, winning 72 votes out of the 122 cast.

A human rights specialist, this lawyer recently led a special UN investigation into the crimes of the Islamic State group. During this investigation, he called for trials similar to that experienced by the Nazi leaders in Nuremberg. He had notably investigated the abuses committed by the Islamic State group against the Yazidis.

See: International justice: Karim Khan elected prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

UN Investigator into ISIS Crimes

On June 16, he will succeed the outgoing Attorney General, the Gambian Fatou Bensouda, who has conducted controversial investigations, in particular on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Afghanistan.

Karim Khan has served as defense counsel in numerous cases at the International Criminal Court, including for the son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Seif al-Islam. He first trained in international criminal law at the former International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where he served as legal advisor to the prosecutor’s office. He then moved on to defense and represented Kenyan Vice President William Ruto before the ICC.

Former lawyer for Charles Taylor

The Briton was also a defense lawyer for ex-Liberian President Charles Taylor before a special court for Sierra Leone. The former president of Liberia was sentenced in 2012 to 50 years in prison. Khan was also a lawyer at The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon, established to bring to justice the assassins of ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005.

The ICC has a total of 123 members out of the 193 that make up the United Nations. The United States, Russia, China, or even Israel, are not part of the ICC.

The mandate of the prosecutor is nine years. The ICC is based in The Hague. The one who will be the third prosecutor of the Court since its creation in 2002 will be in charge of voluminous files and complex cases, in a court whose legitimacy is constantly questioned.

The first responsibilities of the new prosecutor will be to decide on the next steps in the investigation into the war crimes in Afghanistan and the particularly controversial investigation into the 2014 Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza.

ICC declared competent over events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

Last year, the administration of former Republican US President Donald Trump targeted Fatou Bensouda and another senior ICC official, imposing sanctions on them, including a travel ban and a freeze on their travel. assets. They had launched an investigation into alleged US war crimes in Afghanistan.

See: United States: economic sanctions against Fatou Bensouda, ICC prosecutor

Israel and the United States have also strongly opposed another investigation into alleged war crimes by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups.

Last week, however, ICC judges ruled that the court had jurisdiction over the events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, paving the way for a war crimes investigation.

The administration of the new Democratic President Joe Biden has not yet said whether it intends to abandon the sanctions against Fatou Bensouda, which the latter describes as “unacceptable”.

The ICC is the only permanent court for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the world. She has often been criticized for having mainly taken charge of the affairs of African countries.

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