Sidiki Kaba, Senegal’s minister of justice and a long-time supporter of the fight against impunity, is set to become the next president of the ICC’s governing body—the Assembly of States Parties (ASP)
On 1 October, Kaba was endorsed as the consensus candidate for the influential position by the Bureau of the ASP, and has the backing of 34 African ICC member states. This means he will be unopposed at the election slated to take place in New York this December.
He will be the first African to lead the ASP and will serve until 2017 while continuing in his ministerial role in Senegal.
Civil society has broadly welcomed the move:
“The Coalition welcomes the endorsement of Sidiki Kaba as the next ASP president. Minister Kaba brings a wealth of experience and expertise, with direct experience in international justice tribunals and the ICC,” said William R. Pace, convenor of the Coalition for the ICC. “The Coalition has worked with Sidiki for 18 years in all of his different positions. This is extremely fortunate as the ICC and its governing body may be facing their most challenging years during his term.”
“The minister can surely help develop a new phase the relationship between Africa and the ICC, and his leadership can be crucial to development of the international justice system—such as cooperation, complementarity and ratification of the Rome Statute,” Pace added.
“FIDH welcomes the endorsement of Sidiki Kaba, its Honorary President, for the position of president of the ASP. His well-known commitment for an effective ICC and for the protection of the integrity of the Rome Statute will serve him to achieve the vast challenges he will face,” said Karim Lahidji, president the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “Kaba’s Presidency should contribute to preserving the central role of victims in ICC proceedings. As the first African President of the ASP, Sidiki Kaba will play a crucial part in addressing the relations between Africa and the ICC.”
“Minister Kaba is a long-time supporter of the fight against impunity and his clear vision of the role of international justice in providing redress for victims and promoting peace would provide a steady hand at the Assembly’s helm over the next four years. Aside from his own personal dedication, expertise and experience, his appointment would be symbolically important, given Senegal’s own commitment to justice as the first State Party of the International Criminal Court,” said Emma Bonino, founder of No Peace Without Justice.
Kaba is a lawyer who has dedicated his professional career to the promotion and protection of human rights, particularly on issues related to freedom of press, women’s and political rights.
He was at the 1998 negotiations of the Rome Statute and campaigned to promote its ratification by Senegal and across Africa.
In 2001, Kaba was elected president of the International Federation of Human Rights’, a steering committee member of the Coalition for the ICC and an organization that he had previously represented at the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights.
He is also the founder of numerous legal and advocacy organizations.
Last week, Kaba met with ICC states parties in New York to discuss his vision for his presidency, which will focus on four key areas: relations between Africa and the ICC, cooperation with the Court, complementarity and universality of the Rome Statute.
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