Judges at the International Criminal Court have elected Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji (Nigeria) as President of the Court for a three-year term. Judge Robert Fremr (Czech Republic) was elected First Vice-President and Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (France) Second Vice-President.
The election came soon after six new judges elected to sit on the International Criminal Court in December 2017 took their oaths of office at the seat of the court in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday, March 9, 2018.
Judges Luz del Carmen Ibañez Carranza (Peru), Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda), Tomoko Akane (Japan), Reine Alapini-Gansou (Benin), Kimberly Prost (Canada) and Rosario Salvatore Aitala (Italy) were elected for nine-year terms during the sixteenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the Rome Statute in December 2017.
The judges made a solemn undertaking in open court before the President of the ASP, Mr O-Gon Kwon, stating: “I solemnly undertake that I will perform my duties and exercise my powers as a judge of the International Criminal Court honourably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously, and that I will respect the confidentiality of investigations and prosecutions and the secrecy of deliberations”.
Mr Kwon welcomed the new judges to the Court: “Delivering international justice is no easy task; the victims of the most serious international crimes look to these judges to administer justice in situations that have deeply affected their lives and their communities. The accused deserve to have trials conducted in a fair, effective and impartial manner. The credibility and legitimacy of the Court will, to a great extent, be reflected in your ability to be fair and impartial judges and your judgments.”
Outgoing ICC President Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi said the six were joining the court at a very challenging time but said she was confident that current efforts to increase efficiency and effectiveness would be enriched by the new ideas and experience of those joining.
The International Criminal Court has a bench of 18 judges who are nationals of States Parties to the Rome Statute. Below are pen profiles of the six new judges:
Judge Tomoko Akane (Japan)
Judge Tomoko Akane is one of Japan’s most renowned experts in criminal justice and has served as a public prosecutor with exceptional competence and ability in criminal law and international criminal law.
She holds a master of science degree in criminal justice from Jacksonville State University, a bar qualification from the Legal Training and Research Institute of Japan, and a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree from the University of Tokyo.
Judge Akane has over 35 years’ experience as a public prosecutor. She is an ambassador for international judicial cooperation, in charge of promoting international cooperation in the field of justice.
She has served as the Director General, Research and Training Institute, Ministry of Justice in Japan from 2014 to 2016, and director at the Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders affiliated with the United Nations (UNAFEI).
For close to two years, she has served as a Chief Prosecutor with the Hakodate District Prosecutors Office in Japan, as a public prosecutor with Tokyo District and High Public Prosecutors Office, Japan, a public prosecutor with the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, District Public Prosecutors Office, Sendai and Tokyo, and District Public Prosecutors Offices in Yokohama, Tsu and Nagoya.
Judge Akane has served as a director with the International Cooperation Department, Research and Training Institute (RTI) and the Trial Division, Sapporo District Public Prosecutors Office, Japan. She also worked for three years as a deputy director with the Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Four Offenders Affiliated with the United Nations (UNAFEI).
She has also served as professor in UNAFEI, Nagoya and Chukyo University Law Schools in Japan.
Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala (Italy)
Mr Aitala served as a senior judge and prosecutor in the Ministry of Justice, under the authority of the High Council of the Judiciary, and as a senior advisor to the President of the Italian senate for international and legal affairs.
He is a specialist in civilian management of post-crisis countries, rule of law qualifications from Abo Academy University, Institute for Human Rights Italy, and holds a diploma in International Criminal Law from the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Italy. He also has a post-graduate degree in international protection and promotion of human rights from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, and a master’s degree in law from the University of Catania.
Judge Aitala enrolled in a doctoral degree course in public/financial law at the University of Catania, which is uncompleted. He is winner of the United Nation’s competition for the position of Chief of Cabinet of the Tribunal although he did not take up the position to continue his assignment with the European Commission in Albania.
Judge Aitala served as senior advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with responsibility for countries in Asia, the Pacific and Antarctica. He has also served as the police superintendent in the ministry of interior, a voluntary researcher in the University of Catania, Department of Public Financial Law, and a legal practitioner with law firm Burgaretta.
He is a member of the Scientific Committee and Coordinator for Criminal Procedure with the University for Foreigners of Perugia and University of Rome Tor Vergata. He was a principal expert with the European Commission, PAMECA Mission of Assistance to the Police and the Criminal Justice System of Albania from 2003 to 2007 and a Junior Judge and Prosecutor with the Court of Appeal of Milano.
Judge Aitala is anadjunct professor of Criminal Law and International Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at the University of Rome Luiss Guido Carli and the Second University of Napoli, respectively.
He was also an adjunct professor of international cooperation in penal matters at the University of Teramo and a professor of f criminal law, criminal procedure and investigative/prosecutorial practice at the School of Magistrates of Albania for four years.
Judge Kimberly Prost (Canada)
Judge Prost is a Chef de Cabinet to the President of the International Criminal Court. She served as a judge with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for close to four years.
She holds a bachelor of law degree from the University of Manitoba, and a high school diploma from St. Mary’s Academy.
Judge Prost has served for more than four years as an ombudsperson with the United Nations Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee where she handled over 60 cases in five years.
She managed the legal advisory section, treaty and legal affairs branch of the United Nations office on drugs and crimes where she provided assistance and advice to states on international law, criminal law and justice.
Judge Prost studied in the Law Society of Upper Canada and was admitted to the bar in Ontario and Manitoba.
She was the head of the Commonwealth secretariat in the criminal law section and the deputy director, legal and constitutional affairs division.
She was a director of the international assistance group, Department of Justice of Canada, which acts as the central authority for international cooperation in criminal matters. She has also served as a senior counsel, criminal law branch, and in the crimes against humanity and war crimes section at the Department of Justice of Canada, Ottawa.
Judge Prost has taken part in the negotiation of over 40 bilateral extradition/mutual legal treaties and served as a federal prosecutor, Department of Justice of Canada, Winnipeg regional office.
She has taught at the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, Italy, as well as at Queens University, Canada, and McGill University Faculty of Law, Canada.
She is a panel member of the Wildlife Justice Commission and Hiil Institute in The Hague for three years.
Alapini Gansou Reine (Benin)
Judge Reinee holds a degree in Common Law, a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Law and Policy, a masters’ degree in Business Law and Judicial Carriers and Diplôme d’Études Universitaires Générales 1 and 2.
She was previously Duty Counsel with the International Criminal Court handling African cases and a trainer with International Training Centre for Francophone Lawyers on Defence Proceedings before the International Criminal Court.
She has taught at the Beninese National University of Abomey, Calavi and Parakou and has served as a judge at the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
She was appointed by the UN Secretary General as a member of the Fact-Finding Commission on Human Rights Violations in Burundi in 2016 and as the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights between 2009 and 2011. She was a special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa, from 2005 to 2009, and November 2011 to July 2017.
Judge Reine was appointed Head of the Human Rights Component of the African International Support Mission to Mali and that of the Misahel from April 2013 to October 2014. She has served as an appointed Judge at the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague for close to two years.
She chaired the Joint Working Group on the Special Procedures of the African Commission and the United Nations. She also chaired the technical committee assigned to formulate the statute and internal regulations of the Centre for Conciliation, Arbitration and Mediation of the Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCAM – CCIB) and the draft decree for the establishment of the CCAM.
She is a member of the Fact-Finding Commission on Electoral Violence in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, the Bar Association of Benin and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Judge Reine was commissioned as an expert to develop the new criminal procedure code for Benin and was appointed as a Chartered Arbitrator in 2005 at the Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Judge Luz del Carmen Ibañez Carranza (Peru)
Until her election as Judge at the ICC, Carranza was a Senior Criminal Prosecutor for the specialized system for prosecuting terrorism and serious violations of human rights. She was the first Chief Prosecution Coordinator of the specialized subsystem of serious violations of human rights and terrorism.
She served as President of the Anti-Terrorism Legislation Review Commission charged with drafting the new Terrorism law of 2010. She also chaired the Evaluation Commission of the Ombudsman’s Report on the work of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Prosecution of Serious Human Rights Violations.
She holds a doctorate degree in law and master’s degree from the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as a bachelor’s degree in law and political science from the National University of Trujillo.
Judge Carranza has 33 years experience as a prosecutor handling high profile and complex cases of grave human rights violations, genocide, crimes against humanity, tortures, forced disappearance, summary and extrajudicial executions, terrorism, cases of organized crimes, kidnappings and extortions.
She is renowned for succeeding in taking to trial cases of violations of human rights that occurred decades earlier. She prosecuted and achieved convictions and life imprisonment sentences against the leader of the terrorist organization Shining Path, Abimael Guzman.
She has also contributed to the search for missing persons, recovery of human remains and identification of the corpses in mass graves and the restitution of human remains to the relatives of the victims of the armed violence in Peru between 1980 to 1982, and the retrieval of missing children and persons kidnapped by the terrorist organization Shining Path.
Ibañez Carranza has worked as a university professor since 1996 teaching Criminal Procedure, Criminal Law and Human Rights, in which she has vast experience and recognized proficiency.
Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda)
Judge Balungi-Bossa has been practising law for 30 years, with 20 years’ judicial experience at the international, regional and national levels and another 10 years as a practicing advocate and human rights activist.
She holds a post-graduate diploma in legal practice, a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University, and a certificate in law reporting from the Commonwealth Youth Institute, Lusaka.
She has served as a judge of the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals and judge of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court of Uganda. Previously, Judge Balungi-Bossa has served as a judge of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights for more than two and a half years, and spent nine-and-a-half years as a judge at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and another five years as Judge of the East African Court of Justice. She has been a Judge of the High Court of Uganda for more than 15 years.
She has founded or chaired the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute, the East African Law Society, the East African Centre for Constitutional Development (Kituo cha Katiba), the Uganda Network on HIV/Aids, Ethics and the Law, Legal Aid Projects of the Uganda Law Society and Law Development Centre, the National Organization for Civic Education and Election Monitoring, among other non-profit human rights and governance organizations.
She is a member of non-governmental organizations dealing with human rights, judicial officers and governance at the international, regional and national levels such as the International Commission of Jurists, International Association of Women Judges, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, East African Judges and Magistrates Association, and the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Uganda.