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Karim Khan Voted In As Next ICC Prosecutor

CAPTION: A new Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has been elected – Karim Khan

UK Barrister Karim Khan has just been elected Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, beating candidates from Ireland and Spain.

Mr Khan was elected by a majority of 72 and will formally replace Fatou Bensounda on 16 June 2021 for a term of 9 years.


Khan, a veteran lawyer who has appeared in several international tribunals, is remembered in Kenya for representing Deputy President William Ruto and former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura when they faced charges of crimes against humanity relating to the 2008 post-election violence.

The charges against Mr Muthaura (in a case in which President Uhuru Kenyatta had also been indicted) were dropped in March 2013, after a sole witness that tied him to the crimes recanted, while DP Ruto’s case was terminated in 2016, following claims of insufficient evidence.

Khan also represented Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, a Sudanese rebel initially indicted by the ICC for war crimes in Darfur. The Court declined to confirm his charges in February 2010.

Khan’s win means he has now landed in his predecessors’ hot seats where they dealt with accusations of bias against Africa, interference with the US justice system after the court began investigations in alleged atrocities committed by American soldiers in Afghanistan and whether Palestine, a non-State, can have the legal authority to have Israeli military chiefs prosecuted at the court.

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