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Wednesday December 08, 2021

New ICC prosecutor vows to revive troubled tribunal

By AFP
June 17, 2021

The HAGUE: Britain´s Karim Khan was sworn in on Wednesday as the new prosecutor of the International Criminal Court with a promise to "revive" the troubled tribunal after a string of high-profile failures.Khan, who inherits a bulging file of tough cases including in the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan and the Philippines, lamented that the Hague-based ICC had previously achieved "so little so often" in terms of convictions.

The remarks by the 51-year-old former defence lawyer come after outgoing prosecutor Fatou Bensouda was criticised for a string of setbacks including the acquittal of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo.

Khan said he wanted to "build upon the solid ground" left by Bensouda "but also to repair what is broken, to rejuvenate, to revive in the quest for greater efficiency and greater impact."

"We have to perform in trial. We cannot invest so much, we cannot raise expectations so high, and achieve so little so often in the courtroom," Khan said in a speech after being sworn in. Khan was elected by ICC member states in February to serve a nine-year tenure, as only the third prosecutor at the world´s only permanent war crimes court since it launched in 2002.

ICC chief judge Piotr Hofmanski said during the swearing-in ceremony that being prosecutor was a "tough job" but hailed Khan´s "outstanding credentials."

His immediate challenges in his new job include a probe into the Philippines war on drugs that Bensouda announced in her final days in office, and decisions on probes in Ukraine and Nigeria.