ICC's New Top Prosecutor Brings Varied Experience To Role
Muhammad Irfan 2 months ago Sat 13th February 2021 | 11:43 PM
Karim Khan, newly elected chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is a veteran of high-stakes global legal proceedings who has built a fearsome reputation but also courted controversy
London, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 13th Feb, 2021 ) :Karim Khan, newly elected chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is a veteran of high-stakes global legal proceedings who has built a fearsome reputation but also courted controversy.
During a decades-spanning career involving some of the biggest war crimes prosecutions and other cases, the British lawyer has argued in all the major international courts and conducted high-profile probes.
The 50-year-old has worked on both sides of the legal divide, serving as an adviser to prosecutors at the tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, before taking on more contentious defence roles.
Khan also served former Liberian president Charles Taylor during the initial stages of his trial for war crimes.
More recently, he headed the UN special probe into Islamic State group crimes and called for trials like those at Nuremberg of Nazi leaders.
He described him as "one of the most experienced and successful lawyers in the field, combining grit and vision".
"His strategic approach, his experience as courtroom lawyer and his keen eye on evidence will strengthen the quality of investigations and prosecutions, which are critical for the court's success in the next decade," Stahn told AFP.
- 'Clear vision' - Lauded as a "frighteningly clever lawyer and a masterful advocate" by Britain's The Legal 500 research firm, Khan was initially omitted from the ICC's shortlist for the job released last year.
He was reportedly later added at the insistence of the Kenyan government.
It called him "a charismatic and articulate communicator who is well aware of his achievements".
Although the committee noted a write-in campaign by civil society organisations had promoted his candidacy, Khan's previous defence work has also attracted criticism.
The case proved highly controversial there, in particular after the murder of a witness described as crucial for the politician's defence.
"It is worth recalling that in almost 30 years as a member of the Bar, my professional conduct and my ethics have never been questioned or criticised by any judge, in any court, in any jurisdiction," he added.
He went on to cut his teeth in international law at the former Yugoslav and Rwandan war crimes courts from 1997 to 2000.
His other roles have included a stint at the Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up to bring to justice the killers of Lebanese ex-PM Rafic Hariri in 2005.
But it is representing Ruto, as well as Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam and former Liberian president Taylor at a special tribunal for Sierra Leone which have proved most contentious.
"We have to be objective but it doesn't mean we can't be passionate when we've seen injustice, either perpetrated committing massive crimes or somebody unjustly accused," he added.
"It must be the belief that justice must prevail that allows you to do it in a way that you can go on to the next case, and the next case, and the next case."