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The search for a new prosecutor for the International Criminal Court

The election process for the next Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is scheduled to take place at the nineteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties in December 2020. At the end of June, a short-list of candidates was released. The four candidates are Morris A. Anyah (Nigeria), Fergal Gaynor (Ireland), Susan Okalany (Uganda), and Richard Roy (Canada).

The shortlist of relatively unknown candidates was met with concerns from various sources, including Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire, regarding the candidates’ qualifications and backgrounds, and suggestions have been made that other candidates might be added. A summary of some of the issues can be found in Kevin Jon Heller’s articles, “The Coming Kerfuffle over the Next ICC Prosecutor” and “More on Why — and How — States Should Open Up the Nomination Process.”

The shortlisted candidates participated in two days of public hearings this week with States and civil society. Video of the hearings is available here: day 1 and day 2. Twitter coverage can be found under the hashtags #NextICCProsecutor and #ICCProsecutor.

Documentation of the process can be found on the website of the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties.

US President Donald Trump’s recent actions to target individuals working on behalf of or cooperating with investigations of U.S. nationals by the International Criminal Court continues to be a concern.

President Trump signed an executive order that allows the Secretary of State (in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General) to “block property and interests in property” held in the U.S. by persons working on behalf of or in collaboration with the ICC.

The ICC has begun investigations of situations in Afghanistan that include accusations of mistreatment of Afghan detainees by U.S. service personnel. U.S. officials have also criticized the ICC’s investigation of alleged crimes committed in Palestine by Israeli military personnel. Canadian officials have addressed previous threats by the U.S. government to take action targeting Court personnel or those collaborating with the Court. Read the full press release on the issue from WFMC here.

A recent article on the Just Security blog contemplates whether the United States could be held in contempt of the Court as a result of these actions.

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