The 123 member states that are signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC) statute at the weekend elected Karim Khan QC, a British citizen as the next Chief Prosecutor of The Hague based Court. He will take over from Fatou Bensouda.
Khan is scheduled to start his nine-year term on June 16.
The 50-year-old lawyer is known for being at the helm of a special UN investigation into crimes by the Islamic State(IS), during which he put his weight behind a trial similar to the Nuremberg trials for Nazi war criminals.
In a career that spans over 27 years, Khan has worked for almost every international criminal tribunal in prosecution and defense roles, as well as counsel for victims.
He represented late Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam. Khan was pitted against three other contenders to replace the incumbent Fatou Bensouda, who was slapped with US sanctions under the Trump administration last year for continuing to probe war crimes allegations against Americans.
The vote was triggered in New York after parties to ICC could not reach a consensus on a name. Khan failed to garner a majority in the first round but won the second ballot with 72 votes.
“Karim’s extensive experience in international law will be pivotal in ensuring we hold those responsible for the most heinous crimes to account and gain justice for their victims,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter.
The Hague-based ICC consists of 123 member states. It has been constrained from the start with the refusal of the United States, Russia and China to join. The court has also faced criticism for mainly focusing on poorer African countries.
Khan’s first tasks in office will include deciding the course of the investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan and the controversial probe into the 2014 Israel-Palestinian conflict in Gaza