Newly elected ICC judge Haykel Ben Mahfoudh sworn in

TUNIS: Haykel Ben Mahfoudh, the newly elected Tunisian judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC), was sworn in on Friday during a ceremony at the Court’s headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

He was elected for a nine-year term at the 22nd session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in New York last December.

«Ben Mahfoudh comes to the ICC after a long and distinguished academic career starting in 1996,» said ICC President Piotr Hofmànski. He obtained his doctorate in international humanitarian law from the University of Carthage in 2005 and his research covers a variety of topics, including environmental protection in times of armed conflict, victims’ rights, security sector reform, human rights, and democratic transitions.»

Ben Mahfoudh is regularly invited to lecture at foreign universities as well. In addition to his academic career, Ben Mahfoudh has held several management positions. He has also held senior advisory and consultant positions in many international organisations

Congratulating the judges on behalf of the Court, the ICC President said the judges’ diverse backgrounds, outstanding credentials and vast and varied professional experience would be a “huge asset” to this court.

«The election of the six judges was meticulously conducted in adherence to the principles enshrined within the Rome Statute,» said the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Päivi Kaukoranta. It «ensures a judicious balance by encompassing representation from diverse legal systems across the globe, alongside equitable geographical and gender inclusivity.

«The solemn undertakings of six judges of the International Criminal Court have hereby been concluded in accordance with article 45 of the Rome Statute,» she said.

Addressing the judges, she said that «ascending to the esteemed position of judge at the Court is an unparalleled honor accompanied by a weighty responsibility.»

Your designation carries profound expectations by the accused, victims and affected communities
and the international community as a whole, she added at the ceremony broadcast live on the ICC website.

«You are charged with the solemn duty of administering justice impartially and conscientiously …The credibility and integrity of the Court hinge significantly upon your ability to embody fairness and impartiality.

Five other judges were also sworn in at the ceremony. They were Keebong Paek (Republic of Korea), Erdenebalsuren Damdin (Mongolia), Nicolas Guillou (France), Beti Hohler (Slovenia) and Iulia Motoc (Romania). They took the oath in order of age.

The elected judges will not formally become ICC judges until they have been sworn in at a public session. They will take office on Monday, March 11, becoming part of the Court’s 18 new judges.

Their first task will be to elect a new President and two Vice-Presidents of the Court for the next three years,” said the ICC President.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Judge Haykel Ben Mahfoudh made a commitment, stating: “I solemnly declare that I will discharge
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”.

According to the ICC, this wording of the judges’ oath reflects the general principles of oaths taken by judges around the world. The key word is impartiality. Whatever the case before him, the judge must be able to judge it without prejudice (…) Respect for the secrecy of deliberations gives judges real independence.

The ceremony took place in the presence of the ICC Prosecutor, Karim A. A. Khan, the ICC Registrar, Osvaldo Zavala Giler, the President of the ICC Bar Association, Marie-Hélène Proulx, and members of the families of the new judges.

The President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Päivi Kaukoranta, was also present. She presided over the solemn swearing-in ceremony.

The Assembly of States Parties is the main administrative a
nd legislative body of the International Criminal Court. It is composed of representatives of the States that have ratified the Rome Statute.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

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