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British Human Rights Lawyer Karim Khan Elected New ICC Chief Prosecutor

Karim Khan pictured in 2013.Karim Khan will replace Fatou Bensouda from the Gambia, and as he starts his nine-year term.

British human rights lawyer Karim Khan, the Queen’s Counsel was elected Friday as the new prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Khan will be the third prosecutor of the ICC, taking over in June from Gambian-born Fatou Bensouda when her term ends.

Khan won on the second ballot of the 123 parties to the Rome Statute that established the tribunal. He received 72 votes, ahead of Fergal Gaynor of Ireland with 42 votes, Spain’s Carlos Castresana Fernandez with 5 votes and Francesco Lo Voi of Italy with 3 votes. One member did not vote.

The United Nations has 193 member states but only 123 are in the ICC, with the United States, Israel, China and Russia notably absent.

Karim in  a  short message following his election as the next prosecutor, he said:

“I look forward, once my term begins in June, to work with all stakeholders to harness our collective efforts to best serve the cause of justice.”

He added that, “In the meantime, I will continue to carry out my responsibilities as Special Adviser to the Secretary-General and Head of UITAD to promote accountability for ISIL crimes and to vindicate the rights of survivors.”

“Karim Khan’s election as prosecutor is occurring at a time when the ICC is needed more than ever but has faced significant challenges and pressure on its role,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “We will be looking to Khan to address shortcomings in the court’s performance while demonstrating firm independence in seeking to hold even the most powerful rights abusers to account.”

The Assembly also elected the two Vice-Presidents for the twentieth to the twenty-second sessions of the Assembly,  Mr. Robert Keith Rae (Canada) and  Ms. Kateřina Sequensová (Czech Republic).

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