ICC JUDICIAL ELECTIONS 2020

2020: Elections for six new ICC judges

6 judicial vacancies |  9-year terms  |  19th ASP session  |  New York, December 2020

At its nineteenth session in 2020, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) will elect six judges to fill one-third of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) 18 judicial seats. The judicial elections mark a pivotal moment for the ICC’s future as it looks towards an almost complete turnover of leadership at the 2020 session. Following the regular three-year election cycle, the six newly elected judges will each serve for a nine-year term from 2021-2030.

In electing new judges, it is significant that State Parties ensure a fully representative bench; in addition to judicial qualifications, states should take into account representation of the principal legal systems of the world, geographical representation and gender balance, and be “persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity”.

The Coalition calls upon State Parties to nominate and elect only the most highly-qualified candidates, and not to engage in reciprocal political agreements (“vote-trading”) in any ICC/ASP election

Nominating and electing only the most highly-qualified judges

During the nomination period, State Parties, along with states that have started the process of ratification, may put forth candidates who are later assessed by the Advisory Committee on the Nomination of Judges (ACN). The ACN was created in 2011/2012 to facilitate the nomination and election of the most highly qualified judges, assessing candidates to determine whether or not they are qualified to serve on the bench of the ICC.  The ACN puts out formal recommendations following their assessment of the candidates, published in a report in the weeks leading up to the elections. 

While the Coalition as a whole does not endorse or oppose individual candidates, we strongly urge States Parties to give their full support to the work of the ACN and to pay due regard to its findings and recommendations.

Ensuring a Fully Representative Bench – the Minimum Voting Requirements (MVRs)

To ensure a fully representative bench, the election process accounts for the composition of the outgoing judges.  The newly elected judges will fill the vacancies of the six outgoing judges, who will complete their own nine-year terms on 10 March 2021. 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)
  • Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan (Philippines)

The Rome Statute outlines several considerations for a fully representative bench, including minimum criteria for geographic representation, gender balance, and representation of the principle legal systems of the world, not to mention expertise on specific and relevant legal issues. Another consideration in identifying judges are list A, which refers to nominees with criminal law expertise and experience, and list B, nominees with relevant international law expertise and experience.

These factors are taken into account through minimum voting requirements (MVR), which looks at the criteria of the judges remaining on the bench. During the 2020 election, the following MVRs will be in place:

  • One candidate from Eastern Europe
  • Two candidates from Latin America and the Caribbean
  • One candidate from Asia-Pacific
  • One candidate from list A
  • One candidate from list B
  • One female candidate

 

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TIMELINE of ICC Judicial Elections 2020 

The elections are scheduled for the nineteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties, to be held at the United Nations, New York, from 7-17 December 2020.

  • December 2020 - 6 new judges are elected by the ASP. 
     
  • September 2020 - Public Roundtables for judicial candidates are sheduled to take place at the UN Headquarters in New York, in the first week of September.
     
  • August 2020 - Deadline for the ACN to present its final report (16 weeks ahead of the date of the elections)

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