Meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York today, the legislative body of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal, elected six judges to serve nine-year terms starting in early March.
Five were re-elected from previous terms on the 18-member body: Hans-Peter Kaul of Germany, Erkki Kourula of Finland, Sang-hyun Song of the Republic of Korea, Anita Ušacka of Latvia, and Akua Kuenyehia of Ghana. Ekaterina Trendafilova of Bulgaria was elected to a first term.
They were elected today by the Assembly of State Parties, the management oversight and legislative body of the court, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands. The election considered the need for an equitable mix of countries and gender and a fair representation of the world’s principal legal systems.
The 18 judges of the Court have jurisdiction over the most serious international crimes, including genocide, mass murder, enslavement, rape, torture and war crimes. Its jurisdiction complements national courts, which means the Court only steps in when countries themselves are unable or unwilling to investigate or prosecute.
The Rome Statute – the treaty establishing the ICC – entered into force 1 July 2002, and the Court's jurisdiction will cover only crimes committed after that date. The Statute allows States Parties as well as the UN Security Council to refer situations to the Court for investigation.
The Assembly is composed of representatives of the States that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, currently numbering 100. In February 2003, the Assembly elected the first 18 judges, six for three-year terms, six for six-year terms and six for nine-year terms. Eventually all judges will service nine-year, non-renewable terms.