Six new judges sworn in at the seat of the International Criminal Court

Six new judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) were sworn on 8 March 2024, during a ceremony held at the seat of the Court in The Hague (Netherlands). During the Ceremony, participants also bid farewell to the six outgoing ICC judges ending their terms. 

Judges Mr Keebong Paek (Republic of Korea), Mr Erdenebalsuren Damdin (Mongolia), Ms Iulia Motoc (Romania), Mr Haykel Ben Mahfoudh (Tunisia), Mr Nicolas Guillou (France) and Ms Beti Hohler (Slovenia) were elected for nine-year terms during the twenty-second session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute in December 2023. The six new judges commenced their mandates on 11 March 2024 and will subsequently be called to full-time service on the basis of the workload of the Court.

The six judges made a solemn undertaking in open court before the President of the ASP, H.E. Ms Päivi Kaukoranta, stating: "I solemnly undertake that I will perform my duties and exercise my powers as a judge of the International Criminal Court honourably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously, and that I will respect the confidentiality of investigations and prosecutions and the secrecy of deliberations".

ASP President H.E. Ms Päivi Kaukoranta welcomed the new judges to the Court: “Esteemed judges, the tasks before you are formidable, but you do not tread this path alone. While the Court remains a relatively young institution on the international stage, it has swiftly matured and secured its place within the global order. The Assembly of States Parties stands steadfast beside you in the relentless pursuit of justice and the eradication of impunity.”

“This ceremony, which is repeated once every three years, reminds us that while we, human beings – the Court’s officials and staff – come and go, the institution is here to stay. The importance of the Court’s permanence for the rule of law at the international level cannot be overstated. We no longer have to rely on the political will and global power dynamics of the day to create a tribunal for the most serious crimes”, ICC President Judge Piotr Hofmański stated in his remarks, adding: “And yet, the people do matter, too. At any given point in time, it is the individuals serving the Court who breath the life into its mandate every day. It is those individuals whose task it is to turn the words on the pages of the Rome Statute into concrete steps of justice that will make a real difference. A difference to the victims, to the accused, and, ultimately, to society at large. To humankind.”

Also attending the ceremony were the judges of the International Criminal Court, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan KC, ICC Registrar Osvaldo Zavala Giler, and the President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association, Ms Marie-Hélène Proulx.   

The contributions of six judges whose 9-year terms are coming to an end on 10 March 2024 were recognised during the ceremony, these being Judge Piotr Hofmański (President of the Court), Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (Second Vice-President), Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Judge Bertram Schmitt, Judge Péter Kovács and Judge Chang-ho Chung. Judges Mindua, Schmitt, Kovács and Chung will, however, continue in office for a period of time to complete ongoing trials, in accordance with article 36(10) of the Rome Statute.

The International Criminal Court has a bench of 18 judges who are nationals of States Parties to the Rome Statute. Judges are chosen from among persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices. The election of the judges takes into account the need for the representation of the principal legal systems of the world, a fair representation of men and women, and equitable geographical distribution. (source: icc-cpi.int)

Video of ceremony is available here

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Editorial

Editorial
George Kazoleas, Lawyer

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