Today, 20 January 2010, two new International Criminal Court (ICC) judges, elected by the Assembly of the State Parties (ASP) in November, 2009, took up judicial office during a swearing-in ceremony held in open court at the ICC, in The Hague.
The new judges, Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (Argentina) and Ms Kuniko Ozaki (Japan) swore their oaths in the presence of the other ICC judges, including President Sang-Hyun Song. Also in attendance were the Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo and the Deputy Prosecutor, Fatou Besouda, as well as the Registrar, Silvana Arbia and the Deputy Registrar, Didier Preira. The Vice-President of the ASP, Jorge Lomónaco witnessed the event in accordance with the Court’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence.
Judge Fernández de Gurmendi brings to the Court over 20 years of international and humanitarian law as well as extensive practice of human rights issues. Whilst Judge Ozaki, using her vast experience as an academic lawyer also has specialist knowledge of international criminal law, humanitarian law and human rights law.
Opening the ceremony, President Sang-Hyun Song welcomed those present to the “heart of a fully functioning judicial institution [where] the once nascent concept of individual responsibility for international crimes is made manifest: the Prosecution and the Defence present their evidence; witnesses and victims tell their stories.”
The ASP Vice-President, Jorge Lomónaco, reporting on the election of the new judges, underlined that “the requirements set out in the Rome Statute take due regard of an equitable geographical representation and seek to ensure that this Court, and by extension the international community, can count on having judges of the utmost integrity and professionalism, as well as an equally unwavering commitment to the application of the law”.
During their solemn undertaking the new judges took the oath to exercise their functions impartially and conscientiously, respecting the confidentiality of investigations and the secrecy of deliberations.
Later today, the Court will hold a closed plenary session to assign the judges to judicial divisions.
The International Criminal Court has a bench of 18 judges who are nationals of States Parties and persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity with the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial office.
YouTube (for viewing purposes):
For further information please contact Ms Sonia Robla, Head of Public Information and Documentation Section at +31 (0)70 515-8089 or +31 (0) 6 46 44 87 26 or at