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Former Lead Counsel for Charles Taylor, Karim Khan Elected New ICC Chief Prosecutor to replace Gambia’s Bensouda

Former Lead Counsel for Charles Taylor, Karim Khan Elected New ICC Chief Prosecutor to replace Gambia’s Bensouda Former acting lead Counsel at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Britain’s’ Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, 50, was elected as the new ICC Chief Prosecutor yesterday. Mr. Khan would replace Gambia’s Fatou Bensouda on June 16, this year as the Chief Prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court.

Khan served as the lead defense Counsel for the former Liberian President, Charles Taylor at the initial stages of his trial for war crimes, and crimes Against Humanity. He also represented Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, and recently, was the lawyer for late Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s son, Seif al-Islam.

Mr. Khan won the contest for the top job with 72 votes out of 123 countries in the second round of polling, defeating three other candidates, Ireland’s Fergal Gaynor, Francesco Lo Voi of Italy, and Castresana Fernández, Spain.

He is currently, the Special Adviser and Head of UN Investigative Team for Promotion Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIL.

Get the results of both the first and second voting here https://asp.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/asp/elections/prosecutor/pages/2021results.aspx

The established international court has the mandate to investigate, prosecute and try persons accused of committing serious crimes of concern to the international, such as the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. However, despite having its current Chief prosecutor from Africa, The Gambia, the Court has faced strong condemnation for targeting only African heads of States, an accusation it has always denied.

For her attempt to investigate US activities in Afghanistan, outgoing Chief Prosecutor, Ms. Bensouda was last year slapped with sanctions by the Trump Administration, re-knitting the debate over the Status of the Court and its conduct towards powerful states such as the US, and Israel.

Quick Facts about Karim Asad Ahmad Khan

Karim Khan, was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1992 and he is also admitted to the Bar in Pakistan. He is a barrister and Queen’s Counsel with more than 25 years of professional experience as an international criminal law and human rights lawyer. 

He is the President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) an association that represents both Victims and Defense Counsel eligible to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Currently, he is serving as the Lead counsel for Saif Al-Islam Gadaffi of Libya. Karim has been Lead Defence Counsel for the current Deputy President of Kenya, H.E. William Ruto.

He has experience with the International Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.

Mr. Khan has studied and lectured on Islamic law and published extensively in the area of International Criminal Law.

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