ASP Background Briefings | Sixth Election of Judges of the International Criminal Court

The Sixteenth session of the ASP will see the sixth election of judges of the International Criminal Court. Under article 36 of the Rome Statute, six judges will be elected to serve a nine-year term. Nominations are made either in the procedure outlined in their home country for appointment to the highest judicial office, or by the procedure for nominating judges for the International Court of Justice. Candidates up for nomination are expected to be of “high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective States for appointment to the highest judicial offices.” The candidates are organized into two groups, List A and List B. List A candidates have a special competence in (international) criminal law, whereas List B candidates have competence in relevant areas of international law. At least one judge will be selected from List A and one from List B. In regard to demographics, one candidate must be from the African group, the Asia-Pacific group, and the Latin-American and Caribbean states group.

During the ASP, there will be a secret ballot where the State Parties will vote. The judges elected to the court will be the six candidates with the “highest number of votes and a two-thirds majority of the States Parties present and voting.” When voting, States Parties must consider that judges should be of different nationalities, to represent the main legal systems, to have diverse geographical representation, and be a fair mix of men and women.

The retiring judges are Ms. Joyce Aluoch (First Vice President) (Kenya), Ms. Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (President) (Argentina), Ms. Sanji Mmasenono Monageng (Botswana), Ms. Kuniko Ozaki (Japan), Mr. Cuno Tarfusser (Italy), and Ms. Christine van den Wyngaert (Belgium). Five out of the six retiring judges are women – two of which are President and Vice President of the Court – positions that will also be filled during this year’s ASP. Of the remaining 12 only one is a woman. This makes for an interesting election year, and in fact only three of the twelve of the nominated judges are male. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court highlights the importance of maintaining a fair gender balance on the bench, as the court sets a global example for equality. At least five female judges need to be elected to keep the current gender balance on the bench.

Candidates: List A

Mr. Rosario Salvatore Aitala, Italy

Ms. Tomoko Akane, Japan

Ms. Solomy Balungi Bossa, Uganda

Ms. Luz del Carmen Ibañez Carranza, Peru

Mr. Chagdaa Khosbayar, Mongolia

Ms. Nthomeng Justina Majara, Lesotho

Ms. Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, Ghana

Ms. Kimberly Prost, Canada

Mr. Dragomir Vukoje, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Candidates: List B

Ms. Reine Adelaide Sophie Alapini- Gansou, Benin

Ms. Zlata Durdević, Croatia

Ms. Ariela Peralta Distefano, Uruguay


1. Sixth Election of Judges of the International Criminal Court, (Sept. 11, 2017), U.N. Doc. Resolution ICC-ASP/16/3, available at

2. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, (1998), available at

3. Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Female Candidates Sought to Fill Six Spots on ICC Judges’ Bench, Coalition for the International Criminal Court,(Apr. 12, 2017), available at