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December 19, 2018

ICC elects UhuRuto cases judge Chile Eboe-Osuji as President

A file photo of International Criminal Court judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, who is from Nigeria. /CC
A file photo of International Criminal Court judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, who is from Nigeria. /CC

Nigerian judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, who presided over President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's cases at The Hague, has been elected the President of the ICC.

Eboe-Osuji's three-year-term begins immediately following the vote by judges at the International Criminal Court.

Judge Robert Fremr (Czech Republic) was elected First Vice-President and judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (France) Second Vice-President.

"I am deeply honoured to have been elected by my peers ... As I take up my duties, I feel encouraged that I am able to rely on the wide experience of the two Vice-Presidents," Eboe-Osuji said.

The 55-year-old added he was looking forward to working with the VPs, judges and other staff in a spirit of collegiality.

"I also look forward to collaborating with the Assembly of States Parties, civil society and the international community, acting together to strengthen the Rome Statute system [as we mark] the 20th anniversary of the adoption ... this year," the judge said.

"I am also grateful to the previous President - judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi - and Vice-Presidents Joyce Aluoch and Kuniko Ozaki, for their work and leadership."

The Presidency – consisting of the President and the two Vice-Presidents – plays a key role in providing strategic leadership to the ICC as a whole.

The Presidency coordinates with the other organs and seeks the concurrence of the Prosecutor on matters of mutual concern.

In accordance with the Rome Statute, the ICC's governing treaty, the Presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the Court, with the exception of the Office of the Prosecutor. Gambian Fatou Bensouda, 57, has been the ICC's Chief Prosecutor since June 2012.

The Presidency oversees the activities of the Registry and provides input into a broad range of administrative policies affecting the Court's overall functioning.

Furthermore it conducts judicial review of certain decisions of the Registrar and concludes Court-wide cooperation agreements with States and international organizations.

Eboe-Osuji was synonymous with the Kenyan cases but pulled out at one time in 2014.

Uhuru and Ruto faced crimes against humanity charges in relation to the 2007/8 post-election violence during which at least 1,300 people were killed and more than 600,000 internally displaced.

The judge once said Uhuru could abscond a trial in 2013 without breaking any Rome Statute provision or risking any warrant of arrest.

Eboe-Osuji's election as an ICC judge in 2012 was dramatic as it came in the background of the African states threat of a mass walk-out from the ICC.

A critic of the ICC mode of selecting judges described Ehis election campaign as “outrageous”. He is said to have circulated candy boxes with his image on them declaring “vote for me for a judge at the ICC” at the Assembly of State Parties (ASP).

More on this: Osuji opposes ICC decision on Uhuru

Also read: ICC judges: Uhuru and Ruto's fate lies with these four

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