ASP19 2nd Resumed session - SUMMARY

ASP19 session resumes for the 2nd time in New York; States elect Mr Karim Khan as ICC Prosecutor and two ASP Vice-Presidents

12 FEBRUARY 2021
(Photo credit ICC-CPI)

“Following today’s elections, the Coalition for the ICC and its members - as the world’s largest civil society partnership for international justice - stands ready to engage with the new ICC Prosecutor Mr Karim Khan and the new ASP Presidency to herald in a new chapter of the ICC’s work. 

In our collective efforts, we will continue to hold the incoming leadership of the Court and its States Parties to the norms of fair, effective, and independent justice to which they aspire, but also continue to serve as a bridge between the Court and the communities its work affects the most, the people for whom justice and accountability matter before, during and after the ICC becomes involved.”
Melinda Reed, Acting Convenor, Coalition for the ICC

On 12 February 2021, the 19th session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the ICC Rome Statute resumed for the second time at the United Nations Headquarters  in New York.

The two main items on the agenda were the election of the ICC Prosecutor and the election of two Vice-Presidents of the Assembly of States Parties

The meeting began with an address by the outgoing Assembly President Judge  O-Gon Kwon who reflected on the achievements and challenges faced during his mandate, recognizing the commitment of ICC States parties and other stakeholders, including civil society, towards the Rome Statute system and its integrity. President Kwon called on the new US administration to “normalise” its relationship with the court.

The incoming Assembly President, Silvia Fernandez de Gurmendi – who was elected on 18 December 2020, during the first ASP resumption, addressed the Assembly for the first time in that capacity. President Fernandez de Gurmendi reminded the Assembly and all States of the need to ensure firm and proactive support to the Court. 

The Assembly then proceeded with the election of two Vice-Presidents for the 20th to 22nd session of the ASP (until 31 December 2023)

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. 

The State of Palestine took the floor to recall the commitment of all State Parties to support the Court, and condemned all threats and pressure against the ICC. Palestine also expressed their regret over statements by some state parties after the February 5 ICC decision confirming the court's jurisdiction in the Palestine situation. 

Incoming ASP vice-president, Ambassador Rae thanked states parties and expressed Canada’s support for the court. Ambassador Rae highlighted that Canada regards the judicial independence of the Court as an extremely important principle. He recalled Canada’s engagement in the drafting of the Rome Statute, and he reiterated that the rule of law applies to all.  

A representative of the Czech Republic took the floor on behalf of incoming ASP vice-president Ambassador Kateřina Sequensová to thank states parties and congratulate incoming President Fernandez de Gurmendi and incoming VP Rae.

The Assembly proceeded to the Election of the Prosecutor via secret ballot.

As States were not able to select the next ICC Prosecutor by consensus, the Assembly had to elect the Prosecutor by secret ballot for the first time (in accordance with paragraph 4 of article 42 of the Statute). The prosecutor is elected with an absolute majority of the voting members of the Assembly of States Parties. 

During the first round, no candidate obtained the absolute majority of the 123 States Parties. No candidate was elected. 

The following votes were received: 

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


In the second round of voting, that took place in the afternoon, Mr Karim Khan 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. All results can be found in the ASP Website.

The ICC Prosecutor is elected for a non-renewable nine-year term by the ICC Assembly of States Parties. 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.

The Coalition, including through its elections team, along with many individual member organizations, has consistently called on states to nominate and elect only the most highly qualified individuals as ICC officials through fair, transparent and merit-based processes. While the Coalition does not endorse or oppose any individual candidates, it strongly opposes reciprocal political agreements (“vote-trading”) in all ICC and ASP elections. 


Visit ou webpage on the Assembly of States Parties 2020 to read all ASP19 daily summaries, civil society recommendations and other ASP19 resources.