Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier gave the following statement today (12 December) on the election of the German legal expert Professor Bertram Schmitt as a new judge at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague:“I am pleased that with Professor Schmitt’s election, an experienced criminal law expert from Germany will now serve as a judge at the International Criminal Court. The wide support in the Assembly of States Parties shows that Germany’s active endeavours to ensure an effective and independent International Criminal Court are being recognised.
I wish Professor Schmitt great fortitude and skill in his task of pursuing serious violations of international criminal law in a just way.
At the Assembly of States Parties in New York, 122 countries elected Professor Bertram Schmitt as a new judge at the ICC. Professor Schmitt will take up his new position as one of six new judges in the 18-member panel of judges at the ICC in March 2015 for a nine-year term of office. He will be the second German national after the late Judge Hans-Peter Kaul to serve as a judge at the ICC, which was established in 2002.
Following positions at Darmstadt Regional Court and Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, Professor Schmitt has been a criminal judge at the Federal Court of Justice since 2005. He also serves as an ad hoc judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and is an adjunct professor at the University of Würzburg.
The ICC is responsible for trying serious crimes that concern the international community as a whole, that is, genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It thus also plays an important role in preventing such violations of international law. In 1998, Germany helped to draw up the Rome Statute on which the ICC is based. Along with other like-minded countries, Germany has been endeavouring since then to ensure that the ICC is effective, independent and credible.