The Hague, NETHERLANDS | THE INDEPENDENT | Six new judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) have been sworn in at a ceremony held at the seat of the Court in The Hague (Netherlands) on Friday.
Judges Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda), Luz del Carmen Ibañez Carranza (Peru), , 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, 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”.
ASP President O-Gon 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 judgements.”
ICC President Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi stated: “Our six new colleagues join the Court at a very challenging time. In the last years, judges have played a leading role in efforts to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of proceedings and the quality of justice that is delivered. I am confident that such efforts will continue and be enriched by the new ideas and experience of our new colleagues that join the Court today.”
Also attending the ceremony were the judges of the International Criminal Court, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, ICC Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart, ICC Registrar Herman von Hebel, ASP Vice-President H.E. Ambassador Momar Diop, as well as the President and Vice-Presidents of the International Criminal Court Bar Association, Karim Khan, Chief Charles Taku and Jens Dickmann, together with a large number of diplomats and other high-ranking guests, representatives of other international organisations in The Hague and members of the civil society.
The International Criminal Court has a bench of 18 judges who are nationals of States Parties to the Rome Statute. Judges are chosen from among persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices.
The election of the judges takes into account the need for the representation of the principal legal systems of the world, a fair representation of men and women, and equitable geographical distribution.
Who is Justice Bossa?
Justice Bossa is a highly accomplished judge with over 27 years of legal and judicial work experience at national, regional and international level. She has considerable exposure and experience in international judicial practice, international human rights, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and constitutional law.
She was elected Judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in June 2014, for a term of six years.
She has served as Judge with the High Court or Uganda for sixteen years (1997-2013). The East African Court of Justice for five years (2001-2006), United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (UNICTR) for nine and half years (2003-2013) and currently serves as Judge on the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court for Uganda.
Before joining the Bench, she was a Lecturer/Law Reporter at the Law Development Centre of Uganda for seventeen years (1981-1997). She has, been a human rights activist since 1980 and has founded/chaired non-profit Organizations in human rights like the East African Law Society. The East African Centre for Constitutional Development, the Uganda Network on HIV, AIDS, Ethics and the Law, the Uganda Law Society, among others. She has also chaired government bodies like the Law Council and the National Steering Committee on Community Service,
On the international scene, she is a member of the International Commission of Jurists, the international Association of Women Judges, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights and the East African Judges and Magistrate’s Association, among others. At national level, she is a member of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Uganda Chapter, the National Association of Women Judges, and the Uganda Association of Judges and Magistrates.
As a Bar leader, she is well trained on improving access to justice, constitutional and democratic governance, leadership skills, among others. She contributed significantly towards the establishment of the East African Law Society, the East African Centre for Constitutional Development (Kituo cha Katiba), and the Uganda Network on Law, Ethics, HIV and the Law. She also participated through the aegis of the International Commission for Jurists, in the initial stages of drafting of the Additional Protocol on Women to the African Charter.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LL.B) Honors from Makerere University. She is a candidate for a Master of Laws Degree (LL.M) from the University of London. She has received various national, regional and inter-national awards in recognition of her distinguished services as a legal practitioner, judge and human rights activist.