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ICC & ASP Elections 2020 - How did it go? 

At the 19th ASP session, a number of important positions in the Rome Statute system were filled including six new ICC Judges, the ICC Prosecutor, the ASP President, two Vice Presidents and 18 members of the ASP Bureau, six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF), and one member of the Board of Directors of the TFV.

Civil society campaign on ICC and ASP Elections - #ElectTheBest

The Coalition for the ICC and its members monitor all ICC and ASP elections and advocate for the election of only the highest qualified candidates through fair and merit-based election processes. The Coalition and the CICC Elections Team do not endorse or oppose individual candidatesand strongly oppose reciprocal political agreements (“vote-trading”) in ICC and ASP elections.

As part of the elections campaign, civil society asked judicial and prosecutorial candidates to complete questionnaires regarding their vision, background, qualifications, experience and views on international justice and the ICC. Furthermore, in July, November and December 2020, civil society actively contributed to public hearingsfor judicial and prosecutorial candidates organized by the ASP Presidency by co-moderating and submitting questions for candidates. 

Through its CICC Elections Team, the Coalition continuously called for transparent and merit-based elections, and called on States Parties to consider the imbalance in gender representation on the ICC bench 
Further information on ICC and ASP election campaigns can be found on the CICC website.

Election of six new Judges

During the New York segment of the 19th ASP session, States Parties elected six new judges out of the 18 that compose the ICC bench. The election follows the Court’s regular judicial elections process, which replaces a third of the 18 judges every three years. The new judges will serve a nine-year term expected to begin in March 2021.

Judicial candidates can be put forward by States Parties along with states that have started the process of ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC. In assessing the individual candidacies, the ASP is assisted by an Advisory Committee on the Nomination of Judges (ACN), that produces an assessment of the candidates, based on a wide variety of information submitted by the nominating states, the candidates themselves, and civil society. The report of the Advisory Committee was released on 30 September 2020. 

For the first time, the Assembly of States Parties organized public hearings, or roundtables, for judicial candidates, co-moderated by States Parties and civil society. Public roundtables for judicial candidates were previously organized by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court.  Ms Mariana Pena of the open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) and Mr. Allan Ngari of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) co-moderated the hearings on behalf of civil society.

The Rome Statute outlines several considerations for a fully representative bench, including minimum criteria for geographic representation, gender balance, and representation of the principal legal systems of the world, in addition to the expertise on specific and relevant legal issues. A fundamental consideration in electing judges is the differentiation between List A, which refers to nominees with criminal law expertise and experience, and List B, which refers to nominees with relevant international law expertise and experience. These factors are taken into account through minimum voting requirements (MVRs), which apply throughout the different rounds of voting until the vacancies have been filled or until they are discontinued after a certain number of rounds.

The following MVRs were in place in 2020*:

  • One candidate from List A;
  • One candidate from List B;
  • One candidate from the Group of Eastern European States;
  • Two candidates from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States;
  • One female candidate.

 

*The MVRs for the 2020 elections included originally one candidate from the Group of Asia-Pacific States. The requirement has been discontinued after the withdrawal of the candidate from Bangladesh, which left only one competing candidate for the regional group –the candidate from Mongolia.

Round 1

The voting started on 18 December with 18 candidates, following the withdrawal of 4 candidates shortly before the start of voting. 

In the first round of voting, Judge Joanna Korner (United Kingdom) was elected with 85 votes, fulfilling the MVR of one female candidate. 

Round 2

In the second round of voting, Mr. Gocha Lordkipanidze (Georgia) was elected with 76 votes, fulfilling the MVR of one candidate from the Group of Eastern European States.

Round 3

In the third round of voting, held on 21 December, Ms. Miatta Maria Samba (Sierra Leone) was elected with 83 votes.

Round 4

In the fourth round of voting Ms. Maria del Socorro Flores Liera (Mexico) and Mr. Sergio Ugalde Godinez (Costa Rica) were both elected with 87 votes, fulfillingthe MVR of two candidates from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States. 

Round 5, 6 and 7

In the fifth and sixth rounds of voting held on 22 December, with six and four candidates competing, respectively, no judge was elected. 

According to the ASP procedures and practice, a cut-off mechanism kicks in after the fourth round of voting: the candidate having received the lowest number of votes is automatically removed from the subsequent ballot. Exceptions may apply. More information can be found in the ASP «Informal guide and commentary to the procedure for the nomination and election of judges of the ICC».

In the seventh round of voting, held on 23 December, no judge was elected.

Round 8

In the eighth round of voting, Ms. Althea Violet Alexis-Windsor (Trinidad and Tobago) was elected with 86 votes filling the last judicial vacancy. 

 

The six newly elected judges are: 

Ms Joanna KORNER (UK) (List A)
Civil society Questionnaire
ACN Questionnaire + Declaration from candidate
Curriculum vitae 

Mr Gocha LORDKIPANIDZE (Georgia) (List B)
Civil society Questionnaire
ACN Questionnaire + Declaration from candidate
Curriculum vitae 

Ms Miatta Maria SAMBA (Sierra leone) (list A)
Civil society Questionnaire
ACN Questionnaire + Declaration from candidate
Curriculum vitae 

Ms maria del Socorro FLORES LIERA (Mexico) (List B)
Civil society Questionnaire
ACN Questionnaire + Declaration from candidate
Curriculum vitae 

Mr Sergio Gerardo UGALDE GODINEZ (Costa Rica) (List B)
Civil society Questionnaire
ACN Questionnaire + Declaration from candidate
Curriculum vitae 

Ms Althea Violet ALEXIS-WINDSOR (Trinidad & Tobago) (List A)
Civil society Questionnaire
ACN Questionnaire + Declaration from candidate
Curriculum vitae

The outgoing judges are:  Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji (Nigeria) (ICC President); Judge Robert Fremr (Czech Republic) (ICC First Vice President); Judge Howard Morrison (United Kingdom); Judge Olga Herrera-Carbuccia (Dominican Republic); Judge Geoffrey Henderson (Trinidad and Tobago); and Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan (Philippines).

The remaining judges, in addition to the six newly elected, are:  Judge Chang-ho Chung (Republic of Korea); Judge Piotr Hofmanski (Poland); Judge Bertram Schmitt (Germany); Judge Péter Kováck (Hungary); Judge Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua (Democratic Republic of Congo); Judge Marc Perrin De Brichambaut (France) (ICC Second Vice President); Judge Tomoko Akane (Japan); Judge Luz del Carmen Ibanez-Carranza (Peru); Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda); Judge Kimberly Prost (Canada); Judge Rosario Aitala (Italy); and Judge Reine Alapini-Gansou (Benin).

Election of the ICC Prosecutor

The ICC Prosecutor is elected for a nine-year term by the Assembly of States Parties and cannot be reelected. Ms. Fatou Bensouda took office on 15 June 2012 as the second ICC Prosecutor, after being elected by consensus during the 10th session of the Assembly of States Parties in December 2011. Her term will run until 15 June 2021.

In order to facilitate an effective election process, the Bureau of the ASP established a Committee on the Election of the Prosecutor (CEP), composed of five members, one per regional group, and assisted by a panel of five independent experts, one per regional group. The creation of the CEP aimed at prioritizing merit, fairness, and transparency at all stages of the election process, drawing on the lessons learned from the last election process in 2011.

The CEP published a vacancy announcement in August 2019 and received applications from individual candidates. After considering the applications received with the support of the Panel of Experts, on 30 June 2020, the CEP submitted its final report containing a shortlist of 4 candidates for consideration of the Assembly: 

  • Mr. Morris A. Anyah (Nigeria)
  • Mr. Fergal Gaynor (Ireland)
  • Ms. Susan Okalany (Uganda)
  • Mr. Richard Roy (Canada)

 

In an effort to identify a consensus candidate, the ASP Presidency led a consultation process following the release of the shortlist, which included public hearings for candidates co-moderated by States Parties and civil society. Ms Amal Nassar of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Mr. George Kegoro of the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, co-moderated the hearings on behalf of civil society.

As a consequence of the deadlock in the consultations to identify consensus, the ASP Bureau approved on 13 November 2020 an ASP Presidency proposal on the way forward in the election process, which enlarged the list of shortlisted candidates to the remaining individuals who were originally interviewed by the CEP, provided they were still willing to be considered. The Bureau mandated the CEP to release the candidates’ CV and motivation letters, as well as an appraisal of the candidates.

Following the Bureau decision, the list of potential candidates was extended to include 9 candidates:

  • Brigitte Raynaud (France)
  • Carlos Castresana Fernández (Spain)
  • Fergal Gaynor (Ireland)
  • Francesco Lo Voi (Italy)
  • Karim A. A. Khan (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Morris A. Anyah (Nigeria)
  • Richard Roy (Canada)
  • Robert Petit (Canada)
  • Susan Okalany (Uganda)

 

On 9 and 10 December 2020, all candidates took part in a new round of public hearings co-moderated by States Parties and civil society. Ms. Melinda Reed, CICC Acting Convenor, co-moderated the final hearing with ASP President Judge O-Gon Kwon.

Additional consultations among States Parties guided by the ASP presidency followed the hearings, but in the impossibility to carry out proper consultations with the limited time available, the Assembly agreed on 18 December 2020 to defer the election of the Prosecutor to a second resumed session, to be held in New York in early 2021. 

Three additional rounds of consultations followed in January and February, but on the eve of the second resumption of the ASP in New York, ASP President O-Gon Kwon declared the impossibility to identify consensus around any of the candidates and announced that the Assembly was going to elect the Prosecutor by secret ballot for the first time. As a consequence, four States Parties announced their nominations: Carlos Castresana Fernández (Spain); Fergal Gaynor (Ireland); Francesco Lo Voi (Italy); Karim A. A. Khan (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). 

The 19th Assembly session resumed at the UNHQ in New York on 12 February 2021 for the election of the ICC Prosecutor by secret ballot. 

Round 1 

During the first round, no candidate obtained the absolute majority of the 123 States Parties neede to be elected, amounting to 62 votes. No candidate was elected in the first round of voting. 

The following votes were received: 

  • Carlos CASTRESANA FERNÁNDEZ (Spain): 12 
  • Fergal GAYNOR (Ireland): 47
  • Karim KHAN (UK): 59
  • Francesco LO VOI (Italy): 5

 

Round 2

In the second round of voting, that took place in the afternoon, Mr Karim Khan of the United Kingdom obtained the votes necessary to be elected as next ICC Prosecutor. The following votes were received.

  • Carlos CASTRESANA FERNÁNDEZ (Spain): 5
  • Fergal GAYNOR (Ireland): 42
  • Karim KHAN (UK): 72
  • Francesco LO VOI (Italy): 3

 

Mr Karim Khan was elected as the next ICC Prosecutor.

Election of ASP President and Bureau members for the 20th to 22nd ASP sessions

The ASP has an executive committee – the ASP Bureau – that consists of a president, two vice- presidents, and (usually) 18 States Parties, elected by the Assembly taking into account equitable geographical distribution and adequate representation of the principal legal systems of the world. The ASP President and Vice-Presidents, as well as the Bureau members, are each elected for three-year terms.

At its 19th session, the ASP elected the ASP President and Vice-Presidents, as well new members of the Bureau for the 20th to 22ndASP Sessions. Negotiations among States Parties to identify the next Bureau members have been carried out in 2020 by regional focal points in coordination with the ASP Presidency. 

The Assembly elected Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (Argentina) ASP President by acclamation on 18 December 2020. The bureau recommended Ms de Gurmendi for election in November 2020, following a recommendation from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States in accordance with the ASP the practice of rotating the Presidency among regional groups. 

The ASP furthermore elected 18 new Bureau members: Bangladesh, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ecuador, Ghana, Kenya, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Norway, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, the State of Palestine, Uganda and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.*

The Assembly elected for three-year terms Ambassador Robert Rae (Canada), in New York, and Ambassador Kateřina Sequensová (Czech Republic), in The Hague, as its Vice-Presidents during the second resumed session in New York on 12 February 2021.

*A seat-sharing agreement among Bangladesh, Cyprus, Japan, Republic of Korea and the State of Palestine will regulate the sharing of three seats on the Bureau for the 20th to 22nd sessions of the Assembly: 

- Bangladesh would serve as member of the Bureau in 2021 and 2023;
- Cyprus would serve as member of the Bureau in 2021;
- Japan would serve as member of the Bureau for 2022-2023; 
- Republic of Korea would serve as member of the Bureau for 2022-2023; and 
- State of Palestine would serve as member of the Bureau for 2021-2022. 

Election of six members of the Committee on Budget and Finance

At the 19th ASP session, states held an election to fill six seats on the Committee on Budget and Finance (CBF), which consists of 12 members nominated and selected by the ASP based on equitable geographic representation. The CBF is a technical expert body tasked with budgetary and financial review and monitoring of the resources of the International Criminal Court.

Pursuant to resolution ICC- ASP/1/Res.5, the Bureau decided that the nomination period for the Committee on Budget and Finance elections would run from 8 June to 30 August 2020.

After the closure of the nomination period, six candidates have been nominated to become members of the CBF: 

  • Mr. DRUML, Werner (Austria)
  • Ms. HARIMOTO, Yukiko (Japan)
  • Mr. GHARAIBEH, Fawzi (Jordan)
  • Ms. SÁNCHEZ IZQUIERDO, Mónica (Ecuador)
  • Ms. SHAVA, Margaret Wambui Ngugi (Kenya)
  • Ms. SOPKOVÁ, Elena (Slovakia)

The six candidates were elected by the Assembly by acclamation on 18 December 2020. 

Election of one member of the Board of Directors of the TFV

The TFV Board of Directors oversees the work of the TFV and is comprised of five members. The Board members serve in an individual capacity on a pro bono basis and are elected by the ASP to fill three‐year terms. At the seventeenth ASP session, five members were elected to serve as the TFV Board of Directors in 2019: Ms. Mama Koite Doumbia (Mali, representing African states); Mr. Sheikh Mohammed Belal (Bangladesh, representing Asia-Pacific states); Mr. Gocha Lordkipanidze(Georgia, representing Eastern European states); Mr. Felipe Michelini (Uruguay, representing Latin American and Caribbean states); Ms. Arminka Helić (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, representing Western European and Other states). 

To fill the vacancy that arose upon the passing of Mr. Felipe Michelini, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims, on 19 April 2020, the ASP Bureau decided to elect a new member, mindful of "the need for the full membership of the Board of Directors to enable it to continue to carry out its very important work." The Bureau set the nomination period to run between 1 and 30 June 2020. Since Mr. Michelini (Uruguay) held the seat allocated to the Latin American and Caribbean group, only States Parties of this regional group were able to nominate candidates.

At its 5th meeting on 9 July 2020, the ASP Bureau elected Ms. Minerva Josefina Tavárez Mirabal (Dominican Republic) to complete the term of her predecessor, until 4 December 2021. At its 19th Session, the Assembly confirmed the election.