British human rights lawyer Karim Khan (50) is the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague for the next nine years. He succeeded Fatou Bensouda on 16 June.
Khan was chosen from three candidates in a secret ballot from the 123 countries that recognize the International Criminal Court.
The British lawyer is currently leading a United Nations team investigating the crimes of ISIS in Iraq. Over the course of more than 25 years of his career, he has served before numerous international courts, as a public prosecutor and defense minister. For example, the lead advocate in the trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor during the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He defended Kenya, Sudan and Libya suspects before the International Criminal Court.
Khan will have to decide this year whether to continue investigating potential war crimes in the Palestinian territories. His predecessor Bensouda says there is ample evidence that Israeli forces and armed groups from Palestine have committed crimes. A committee decided a week ago that the International Criminal Court might proceed with this investigation, after Israel objected. Israel is also not a member of the International Criminal Court.
Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court are subject to US sanctions
The British criminal defense attorney also inherits an argument between his predecessor and the United States. A year ago, the former US president sanctioned members of the court, including Bensouda, for an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan. It is also looking at whether US forces have crossed the line.
The United States – like Israel – does not recognize the court. Joe Biden said he would look “carefully” at the sanctions.
The Criminal Court was established nearly twenty years ago to try war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and crimes of aggression. The International Criminal Court has investigated cases in Uganda, the Central African Republic, Libya, and Mali, among others.
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