British human rights lawyer Kareem Khan, 50, has been the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for the next nine years. He beats Futu Benzouda on June 16th.
Khan was selected by three candidates in a secret ballot from the 123 countries that recognize the ICC.
The British lawyer is currently chairing a United Nations panel investigating crimes committed by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq. In his more than 25 years of life, he has served as a lawyer and defense before many international tribunals. For example, he was the main bodyguard in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor during the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He supported the suspects from Kenya, Sudan and Libya at the International Criminal Court.
Khan will have to decide this year whether he will continue to investigate possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories. His predecessor, Benzouda, says there is ample evidence that both Palestinian Israeli forces and armed groups have committed crimes. Following Israel’s objection, a panel previously decided that the ICC could continue the investigation. Incidentally, Israel is not a member of the ICC.
ICC lawyers are under US sanctions
The British criminal defense lawyer gets an argument between his predecessor and the United States. A year ago, the former US president introduced sanctions against court members, including Benzouda, over war crimes trials in Afghanistan. It also looks at whether US troops have crossed the border.
The United States – like Israel – does not recognize the court. Joe Biden has said he will look into sanctions “deeply.”
The Criminal Court was established nearly twenty years ago to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression. The ICC has heard cases in Uganda, the Central African Republic, Libya and Mali.