Wanted: Highly qualified candidates to become ICC judges


elections campaign_banner2As the nomination period for the election of six future ICC judges opens, we’re urging governments to put forward the most highly qualified candidates in a fair, transparent and merit-based election process.

From 28 April to 20 July, ICC member states have the opportunity to nominate candidates for judicial elections to take place in December at the 13th Assembly of States Parties (ASP) – the ICC’s governing body.


The new judges will serve a nine-year term from 2015. They must be a national of a state party to the ICC Rome Statute and can be nominated by any state party (and not necessarily by the state of which the candidate is a national).

A new ASP president and two vice-presidents will also be elected, along with 18 new members of the ASP Bureau and six new members of the Committee on Budget and Finance.

Fairness, efficiency, independence  
Dealing with increasing complex legal proceedings and ensuring the Court’s judicial processes are as efficient as possible makes it crucial that judicial candidates have experience in criminal proceedings and courtroom management.

Coalition Convenor William R. Pace: “The only way the ICC can be recognized as pre-eminent, unbiased, independent and effective – as an international tribunal that ensures fairness in its procedures and trials – is if the Court’s chambers are composed of judges who are among the most highly qualified and impartial.”

Since 2003, we have been promoting informed, merit-based decision-making by governments by ensuring that the qualifications and expertise of candidates for election are as transparent as possible.

We also scrutinise how states parties came to nominate a candidate for election, and strongly oppose reciprocal political agreements (vote-trading).

As part of our Campaign on ICC/ASP Elections, we help publicize and raise awareness of the elections and the nominated candidates by:

  • Requesting all candidates to complete questionnaires that provide additional information about their qualifications;
  • Holding interviews with candidates;
  • Organizing public seminars with available candidates and experts;
  • Hosting public debates between the candidates.

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

Individual member organisations of the Coalition may take positions on particular candidates which represent their respective organizations but are not taken in the name of the Coalition.

Voting at the 2011 ICC judicial elections

Balloting at the 2011 ASP. © CICC.

Election criteria and minimum voting requirements
Article 36 of the Rome Statute requires that candidates have established competence in criminal law and procedure and the necessary relevant experience in criminal proceedings (list A candidates) or in relevant areas of international law and extensive experience in a professional legal capacity (list B candidates).

States must take into account the representation of the principal legal systems of the world, equitable geographical representation and a fair representation of female and male judges.

So that Article 36 is fully implemented and the Court’s bench remains fully representative, each judicial election has minimum voting requirements (MRVs).

At the 2014 elections, the following MRVs are in place:

  • Two candidates from the Eastern European group must be elected;
  • One from the Asia and Pacific States group;
  • One must be male;
  • And two must come from List B.

As part of our campaign, we also urge states to uphold the Rome Statute principles of a fair, effective and independent ICC representing all of the world’s regions and major legal systems as well as maintaining equitable gender representation.

ICC judicial election 2011

Candidates promotional material at the 2011 ASP. © CICC.

Advisory Committee on Nominations 
In 2011, the ASP set up an Advisory Committee on Nominations of Judges (ACN) to facilitate the nomination and election of the highest qualified officials.

The ACN provides objective assessments of the nominated judicial candidates, guided by the applicable provisions of Article 36.

The upcoming elections will be the first time that the Advisory Committee on Nominations will assess such a high number of candidates.

We are committed to supporting the Committee in fulfilling its mandate and further improving the ICC judicial elections, and have strongly urged states parties to give their full support to the work of the ACN and to pay due regard to its findings and recommendations.

All questionnaires completed by judicial candidates, and other documentation, will be available on our 2014 ICC Judicial Elections webpage.

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