Electing the best ICC & ASP leaders

For effective and efficient justice, we campaign for ICC member states to nominate and elect only the highest qualified candidates to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its governing body, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP).

Governments must elect the best leaders to the ICC and the ASP to ensure both bodies function effectively and impartially. We campaign for states to nominate and elect highly-qualified and independent candidates to key positions in the Rome Statute system through fair, transparent, and merit-based nomination and election processes.

Elections Basics

ICC officials—including judges and the ICC prosecutor and deputy prosecutor—are elected by the Assembly of States Parties. The Assembly also elects its own officials such as the ASP president and sub-committee members, and elects members of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims.

Every three years, the Assembly elects six new judges for non-renewable terms of nine years. 

The Assembly also elects the prosecutor and deputy prosecutor for nine-year, non-renewable terms. ICC judges, in turn, elect the Court’s president and two vice-presidents for a maximum of two three-year terms and the registrar for a maximum of two five-year terms. The judges elect the ICC registrar by an absolute majority in a secret ballot. The judges need to take into account any recommendations by the Assembly.

ASP Bureau members are elected for three-year terms by the Assembly. The ASP Bureau is the ASP’s executive committee, and is composed of a president, two vice-presidents, and eighteen members. Constituting the ASP Bureau should take into account equitable geographical distribution and adequate representation of diverse legal systems.

The five members of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims are elected for three-year terms by the Assembly and are eligible for re-election once.

The 12 members of the Committee on Budget and Finance are elected by consensus or by secret ballot for three-year terms.

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Elections of ICC and ASP Officials 

Officials of the ICC, including the Judges, the Prosecutor, and the Deputy Prosecutors are elected by the ASP. The ASP is also responsible for electing ASP officials. 

Every three years six new judges are elected for a non-renewable term of nine years. ICC Prosecutors and Deputy Prosecutors are elected for nine-year terms and can also not be re-elected. The ASP Bureau members are elected for three-year terms. The ASP Bureau is the ASP’s executive committee, and is composed of a President, two Vice-Presidents and eighteen members. 

The ICC Registrar is not elected by the ASP. The judges elect the Registrar by an absolute majority by secret ballot. They do need to take into account any recommendations by the ASP. The Registrar serves for a term of five years, and is eligible for re-election once.

Campaign on ICC/ASP Elections

The destructive practice of vote-trading seen in other international institutions runs contrary to the fair and effective functioning of international justice and must be prevented at the ICC. For this reason, we advocate for informed and merit-based elections. There can be no vote-trading or other forms of politicization when it comes to electing leaders in the Rome Statute system of international justice.

We ensure that the qualifications and expertise of nominees for ICC and ASP positions are transparent and widely known, and scrutinise how ICC member states came to nominate a candidate.

The Coalition as a whole does not endorse or oppose individual candidates, but rather advocates for the integrity of the nomination and election procedures. 

Individual member organizations of the Coalition may take positions on particular candidates. These positions represent the views of those respective organizations and should not be taken as representative of the Coalition’s views.

Campaign activities

  1. Promote the nomination and election of the most highly qualified officials through fair, merit-based, and transparent processes;
  2. Uphold the Rome Statute principles of a fair, effective and independent ICC representing all of the world’s regions, major legal systems and regions, as well as maintaining equitable gender representation.

Activities include a global advocacy campaign involving civil society partners around the world, governments and international/regional institutions, and media actions to advance independent, transparent, fair and merit-based elections. 

For more information on the election of ICC and ASP Officials, please write to asp@icc-cpi.int

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