Global justice and election observers are this week following closely the 10th session of the International Criminal Court’s Assembly of State Parties (ASP) which convenes today.
José Luis Moreno Ocampo has served as the Court’s first Prosecutor since 2003 and will be stepping aside in June. His successor, current Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, is expected to be elected by acclamation during the ASP’s Monday morning session after consensus was reached earlier this month. An original shortlist of six candidates was announced by the search committee in October, with negotiations between governments reducing the list to the two African nominees. Tanzanian chief justice Mohamed Chande Othman withdrew in late November, leaving Bensouda as the default selection.
The election of six new judges will take begin on Monday afternoon, continuing Tuesday as necessary. Nineteen candidates were nominated, with a minimal nomination requirements were met in early October. A panel of high-level experts was established by civil society groups to independently assess whether the candidates put forward met the qualifications detailed in the Rome Statute. The panel’s report, released on 26 October, concluded that four candidates were not qualified to serve on the ICC bench due to a lack of experience as required under Article 36 of the Rome Statute. One of these individuals, Ajmi Bel Haj Hamouda from Tunisia, withdrew his candidacy on 1 December, though it was not stated as a response to the panel’s findings.
With the election of the Prosecutor a done-deal, the real interest will be in the election of the six judges. Will the States parties take into consideration the views of the independent panel?