- Khan will officially take office in the middle of the year, when Bensouda's nine-year term expires
- The NGO Human Rights Watch has criticized the selection process.
- The 50 years old Khan beat his competitors to win in the second round of voting with support from 72 nations – 10 more than the 62 needed.
A majority of the 72 signatory countries of the Rome Statute on Friday elected the British Karim Khan as the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ( ICC ) to replace Fatou Bensouda, who took office in 2012. The new chief prosecutor will be the third to hold this position in the history of the organization.
After a selection process with a secret ballot with three other candidates having vied for the position: the Spanish Carlos Castresana, who obtained 5 votes; the Irish Fergal Gaynor, with 42 and the Italian Francesco Lo Voi, with 3.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is based in The Hague (Netherlands).
The 50 years old Khan beat his competitors to win in the second round of voting with support from 72 nations – 10 more than the 62 needed. Khan will take office in the middle of the year, when Bensouda’s nine-year term expires.
Khan will assume a very complicated and pressure-filled position, as Bensouda, the outgoing occupant of the position once testified. She was sanctioned by the administration of former US President Donald Trump for her insistence on investigating alleged US crimes.
The United States, like Russia, is a signatory to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC , but has not ratified it, while other powers such as China and India are not signatories to it.
The court has also been heavily criticized by Israel after the ICC assured that it has jurisdiction in the Israeli-occupied territories after the 1967 Six-Day War, which opens the door to possible investigations into military actions about settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The NGO Human Rights Watch has criticized the selection process because, in its opinion, the obligation to carry out an exhaustive review of the candidates’ records to ensure the highest moral standards of the occupant of this important position was not respected.
Khan, who was a favorite, has been an advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, since 2018.
The Briton is responsible for a UN investigative team on possible genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Islamic State in Iraq.
In the past, Khan has served as a defense attorney at the ICC and has worked on cases on genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Lebanon and Sierra Leone.
The former Spanish judge of the National Court Carlos Castresana, who investigated crimes of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, in Chile; Jorge Videla, in Argentina, and crimes and impunity in Guatemala, did not get enough votes.
In the first round, Khan did not get the required 62 votes and fell just 3 short of that number, triggering a second round of voting.
Khan has promised to reform the prosector’s office to make it more efficient. He is generally regarded as a tough and fiercely clever advocate.