The Next Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court: A Consensus or a Convoluted Process?

By Ovo Imoedemhe, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, School of Business and Law

Dah Al Hekma University


The Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties (the Bureau) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is poised to elect the next Chief Prosecutor in December 2020. The process for electing the next Chief Prosecutor of the ICC began in March 2019. One of the four shortlisted candidates is Susan Okalany a woman, and a high court judge from Uganda. Might we expect another African woman as ICC’s Chief Prosecutor? The Rome Statute of the ICC entered into force on 1 July 2002, and vital to achieving the objectives of the ICC is the effective functioning of the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Since 2003, the ICC has had two Chief Prosecutors, the first was Luis Moreno-Ocampo (from Argentina), and second, Fatou Bensouda (from the Gambia). Having been appointed in 2012, Bensouda’s nine-year non-renewable term expires in June 2021, as such the procedure for the election of the next Chief Prosecutor has been ongoing. Who will emerge as the third Chief Prosecutor of the ICC?

The Process Triggered

Guided by Article 42(3) of the Rome Statute, which sets out the main qualifications of the Prosecutor, the Bureau of Assembly of States Parties (the ‘Bureau’) adopted Resolution ICC-ASP/1/Res.2 amended by Resolution ICC-ASP/3/Res.6, entitled ‘Procedure for the Nomination and Election of Judges, the Prosecutor and the Deputy Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court’ (Nomination Resolution). The Nomination Resolution