Karim Khan has been elected as the next Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.  Karim succeeds Gambian Judge Fatou Bensouda.

Karim will begin his 9 year term at the court in The Hague in June 2021 and until then all communications must be addressed to the current Prosecutor in The Hague.  Karim is unable to receive or consider any email or communication on any ICC matter until then.

Karim specialises in all areas of public international law, international criminal and human rights law, sports law, international arbitration, extradition, media law and major commercial fraud cases. He acts for both states and individuals and victim groups. He previously worked as a Senior Crown Prosecutor, at the Law Commission of England & Wales, and in the Office of the Prosecutor at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

In 2018 the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, appointed Karim as the First Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Team investigating international crimes committed by ISIL / Da’esh i (UNITAD). UNITAD was established by way of unanimous Security Council Resolution 2379 (2017). See https://www.unitad.un.org


Dip.Int.Arb ( CIArb) – Diploma in International Arbitration – awarded by the CIArb ( Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, London). Awarded February 2018


“In the area of international criminal law, Karim is the go-to lawyer. He is known for his advocacy in the courtroom both in content and in style. He ensures he has a very deep knowledge of not just the facts of an incident but of all aspects of a case, which in this field involves politics, culture and society. He is a frighteningly clever lawyer and a masterful advocate.”
Legal 500 (2021) Leading silk Ranked Tier 1, International Crime and Extradition

“Extremely intelligent and an outstanding litigator”
Legal 500 (2019) Leading Silk, Ranked Tier 1, Crime and Extradition

A “superb lawyer” and “frighteningly clever master strategist,” who has represented clients in international courts across the world. As a prosecutor for the ICTY and ICTR, he has vast experience of handling complex matters such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and contempt of court disputes. One market commentator says: “His ability to address and sum up the most complicated legal analysis in concise yet powerful words has become legendary.”
Strengths: “Has an unparalleled experience of high profile cases and has appeared in all the international criminal courts set up in the past 20 years. The amount of work he puts in for each of his cases is phenomenal and makes him such a feared adversary.” “He is eloquent and clients love him.”
Recent work: Represented the Deputy President of Kenya against charges of crimes against humanity before the ICC in relation to the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007-2008.
Chambers and Partners (2018)

Ranked in “band 1” international criminal law and extradition.
Legal 500 (2017)

“Noted for his dedication and passion for international criminal law, he has represented clients in international courts across the world. As a prosecutor for the ICTY and ICTR, he has vast experience of handling complex matters such as crimes against humanity, war crimes and contempt of court disputes. ”
Strengths: “Incredibly hard-working, extremely difficult to fight, passionate about his work and exceptional on his feet.” “Always a gentleman and a tough advocate, he’s a superb lawyer who is doing a great job for his clients.”
Recent work: Has acted for opposition leaders in Sudan at the ICC, and has also represented  the deputy president of Kenya before the ICC.
Chambers and Partners (2017)

‘He has represented governments and political leaders with great skill and diligence.”
Legal 500 (2016)

“Passionate silk who has significant experience of representing clients faced with charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including matters concerning attacks on UN bases. He is a formidable advocate who is recognised for his experience acting as a prosecutor for the ICTY.”
Chambers and Partners (2016)

“Strengths: ‘He is an experienced younger silk who is very able and very thorough. He has total confidence and self-assurance.’ ‘He is incredibly passionate, puts up a good fight and has a very good drafting style.’ ”
Chambers and Partners (2016)

“Karim Khan QC (Temple Garden Chambers) Has a strong reputation for handling international crime matters, and particular experience in cases involving war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Africa and Eastern Europe. Recent work: Defended the deputy president of Kenya, William Ruto, who was charged with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in violence following the 2007 national elections in Kenya.”
Chambers and Partners (2015)


  • Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration
  • Recorder of the Crown Court
  • Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
  • Visiting Professor of international law and Human Rights at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone.
  • Honorary Lecturer, International Law, School of Law, University of Utrecht (2010-2011; 2012-2013);
  • Member of the CBA’s working group on the ICC Act 2001;
  • Past member of international justice sub-committee of the IRC of the Bar Council;
  • Member of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Pro Bono Human Rights Panel;
  • Included on Attorney-General’s panel of Prosecution Advocates (2001-2004);
  • 2008, elected an individual member of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC);
  • Member of the Executive Committee, Association of Defence Counsel of the ICTY (ADC) (2010 to 2011);
  • Member of Disciplinary Council of the Association of Defence Counsel of the ICTY (ADC) (2007 to 10);
  • Past Chair, Amicus Committee, of the ADC;
  • Member of the ICTY Disciplinary Board (along with ICTY judiciary) (2009 –13);
  • In 2010, Karim was also elected to the Disciplinary Appeals Board of the ICC (along with ICC judiciary 2012-2015).
  • President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA) 2017 – to date


  • Barrister, Lincoln’s Inn, London;
  • LLB (Hons), A.K.C., (King’s College, University of London);
  • Inns of Court School of Law, London;
  • Dip.Int.Rel (Nice), Advanced Diploma, International Human Rights (Abo Akademi, Turku, Finland);
  • D Phil (candidate), Wolfson College, University of Oxford;
  • Doctorate, honoris causa, University College FAMA, Pristina, Kosovo (2012);
  • Doctorate, honoris causa, European University, Tirana, Albania.

Professional Memberships

Included on Defence counsel list (and list of victims counsel as applicable): ICC, ICTY, ICTR, SCSL, ECCC and STL.



Public Access

Undertakes Public Access work


Kipsigis and Talai peoples of Kericho County

Advising the Kipsigis and Talai peoples in relation to historic human rights abuses in Kericho County, Kenya including appearing as international counsel before the Kenyan National Land Commission and submitting a dossier to the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures.

Baghdadi Mahmoudi

Pierre-Olivier Sur is one of the international counsel for Baghdadi Mahmoudi, the former Prime Minister of Libya during the Government of Colonel Gadaffi, who is charged with crimes against humanity and corruption in the courts of Libya, following extradition from Tunisia. He is representing the client alongside Karim Khan QC, Libyan and Tunisian lawyers.

Prosecutor v Al-Jadeed TV and Karma Khayat, Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)

Karim Khan QC, Rodney Dixon QC and Dato’ Shyamala Alagendra represented TV station and journalist in trial at STL on allegations of witness interference. This is the first trial before an international court in which a corporate entity has faced charges. TV station and journalist has been acquitted of all counts.

In the Case Against Al Jadeed [Co.] S.A.L./ New T.V. S.A.L. (N.T.V.) & Karma Mohamed Tahsin Al Khayat STL, In the Case Against Al Jadeed [Co.] S.A.L./ New T.V. S.A.L. (N.T.V.) & Karma Mohamed Tahsin Al Khayat, STL-14-05

Contempt of court proceedings before the STL against a Lebanese journalist and the media company she works for. This case represents the first time that a corporation has been charged before an international criminal or hybrid court. Al Jadeed was acquitted on both counts and Ms. Khayat acquitted on one count and convicted of the lesser count (sentenced to a 10,000 Euro fine). The Prosecution has appealed the three acquittals and the Defence the one conviction.

Maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya) ICJ, Maritime delimitation in the Indian Ocean (Somalia v. Kenya)

Representing the Government of Kenya against Somalia’s application to the ICJ requesting the Court delimit the boundary of Somalia and Kenya’s continental shelf. Kenya has challenged the Court’s jurisdiction to hear this matter.

Prosecutor v. Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus ICC, Prosecutor v. Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, ICC-02/05-03/09

Lead Counsel, 2010 – 2013, for Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, third rebel leader charged (war crimes) by the ICC in relation to the Darfur Situation. Arranged client’s voluntary initial appearance before the Court. Represented client at ICC’s first ‘fast track’ confirmation hearing (joint proceedings with Mr. Banda) in which client did not contest Prosecution’s case for purposes of confirmation. Proceedings terminated following client’s death in the field.

Prosecutor v. Prlic et al. ICTY, Prosecutor v. Prlic et al., IT-04-74

Co-counsel for Bruno Stojic, former Head of Defence Departments, Croatian community of Herceg-Bosna. Charged with War crimes and Crimes against humanity. Appeal pending.

Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura et al. ICC, Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura et al., ICC-01/09-02/11

Lead Counsel, 2011 – 2013, representing Ambassador Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, against ICC crimes against humanity allegations arising from violence following Kenya’s 2007 national elections. First ICC case in which the Prosecution requested permission to withdraw charges against an accused, which followed from a Defence application to vacate the confirmation of charges decision on basis of newly disclosed information that the evidence of the core witness against client was wholly unreliable.

Arben Krasniqui et al. EULEX, Arben Krasniqui et al., P766/12

Lead Counsel, 2010 – 2013, representing Fatmir Limaj in relation to charges of war crimes allegedly committed in Kosovo in 1999 before the EULEX (hybrid) court system in a trial comprising UK, American and Kosovan judges. At the end of this trial, Fatmir Limaj was acquitted on all counts of war crimes. The Supreme Court of Kosovo ordered a re-trial, which also ended in a full acquittal on all charges.

Baghdadi A-Mahmoudi

Karim Khan QC, International counsel, 2013 – present, representing Dr. Baghdadi A-Mahmoudi, Former Prime Minister of Libya during the Government of Col. Gadaffi, charged with crimes against humanity and corruption in the courts of Libya following extradition from Tunisia. Represent client along with Libyan and Tunisian and Malaysian counsel.

Prosecutor v Kaing Geuk Eav, alias Duch ECCC, Prosecutor v Kaing Geuk Eav, alias Duch, 001/18-07-2007-ECCC

Lead counsel, 2008-2009, for the largest group of Civil Parties (victims) in the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) arising out of the Khmer Rouge Period. Case file number 1 Prosecutor v Kaing Geuk Eav, alias Duch.

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Prosecutor v. Florence Hartmann ICTY, Prosecutor v. Florence Hartmann, IT-02-54-R77.5

Lead counsel, 2009-2010, for Florence Hartmann. Hartmann was the ICTY spokesperson for six years and the contempt of court trial and appeal related to her book “Paix et Chastistement”.

Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto et al. ICC, Prosecutor v. William Samoei Ruto et al., ICC-01/09-01/11

Lead Counsel representing H.E. Deputy President of Kenya Mr. William S. Ruto against ICC crimes against humanity allegations arising from violence following Kenya’s 2007 national elections.

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Prosecutor v. Bahar Idris Abu Garda ICC, Prosecutor v Bahar Idris Abu Garda, ICC-02/05-02/09

Lead Counsel, 2009 – 2010, representing Bahar Idris Abu Garda, the first rebel leader charged by the ICC (war crimes) in relation to the Darfur conflict (Sudan situation). Missions to Egypt, Ethiopia and Chad. Responsible for liaising with the client and arranging his voluntary surrender to the court. Led team including legal assistants and case manager and investigators. Examined and cross-examined key witnesses at contested confirmation hearing. This was the first case where the judges of the ICC declined to confirm any charges preferred by the Prosecution. Prosecution application for leave to appeal dismissed.

Prosecutor v. Astrit Haraqija et al. ICTY, Prosecutor v. Astrit Haraqija et al., IT-04-84-R77.4

Lead counsel, 2008 -2009, for Astrit Haraqiqa, Kosovo Minister of Culture. First Minster charged with contempt of court before the ICTY. Led team, directed investigations and case at trial and appeal. Haraqiqa acquitted on all counts on appeal.

Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo ICC, Prosecutor v. Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo, ICC-01/05 -01/08

Co-Lead counsel, 2008-2009, for Jean Pierre Bemba Gombo, Former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo for crimes allegedly committed in the Central African Republic. Represented Mr. Bemba in confirmation hearing and other applications, including legal submissions at the confirmation hearing (Article 25 charges dismissed, Article 28 preferred after court requests additional submission).

Prosecutor v. Limaj et al. ICTY, Prosecutor v. Limaj et al., IT-03-66

Lead Counsel and then Co-counsel (led by Michael Mansfield QC), representing Fatmir Limaj, the first Kosovo Liberation Army commander accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Oversaw and directed investigations along with latterly appointed Lead Counsel and examined and cross-examined numerous witnesses, drafted motions, responses and briefs. Limaj acquitted on all counts. Prosecution appeal dismissed after full hearing.

Prosecutor vs. Charles Ghankay Taylor SCSL, Prosecutor v. Charles Ghankay Taylor, SCSL-03-01

Instructed as Lead Counsel to Charles Ghankay Taylor, former President of Liberia, before the SCSL (April 2006 – June2007). In charge of a team of investigators, co-counsel and legal assistants with offices in Monrovia, Freetown and The Hague. Supervised and directed investigations, numerous motions and appeals drafted and advocacy in court in Freetown and The Hague.

Prosecutor v. Sefer Halilović ICTY, Prosecutor v. Sefer Halilović, IT-01-48

Appointed by ICTY Registrar as Independent Counsel to General Sefer Halilovic, Chief of Bosnia and Herzegovina armed forces. Appeal to ICTY President Meron allowed.

Prosecutor v. Alex Brima SCSL, Prosecutor v. Alex Brima, SCSL-04-16

Co-counsel for Alex Brima before the SCSL (2004), charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Liberia v. Sierra Leone ICJ, Liberia v. Sierra Leone

Drafted memorial before the International Court of Justice in case Liberia v. Sierra Leone with regard to head of state immunity.

Prosecutor v. Cancio Lopes de Carvalho et al. SPSC, Prosecutor v. Cancio Lopes de Carvalho et al., Case No. 06

Appointed, in 2001, by the United Nations Transitional Authority for East Timor (UNTAET) as Defence Counsel for Cancio Lopez de Carvalho, the leader of the Mahidi militia (described in the media as the “Mladic of East Timor”). Lopez de Carvalho was charged with crimes against international humanitarian and human rights law allegedly committed in East Timor during 1999. Admitted to practice in the courts of East Timor. Missions undertaken to Dili, East Timor and Kupang, West Timor, Indonesia.

Archbold International Criminal Courts

31st August 2018

Editorial assistant working on the latest edition of this prestigious practitioner text.

International Criminal Law Reports (ICLR)

18th February 2016

Co-Editor of compendium of national and international decisions relevant to the field of international criminal law. Provides text of decisions and commentary thereon. Published by Cameron May.

Human Rights Practice

18th February 2016

Contributor since 2002 to this Sweet & Maxwell published in-depth compendium of articles focused on the interpretation and application of the 1998 Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. Published by Sweet & Maxwell.

Sitting on Evidence? : Systemic Failings in the ICC Disclosure Regime – Time for Reform

18th December 2015

Chapter in “ The law and practice of the International Criminal Court.” (Oxford University Press. Edited by Professor Carsten Stahn).

An Unbreakable Thread? The Presumption of Innocence in International Law

18th December 2015

Chapter published in book “Promoting Accountability Under International Law for Gross Human Rights Violations in Africa”, Essays in Honour of Prosecutor Hassan Jallow. Published in Brill / Nijhoff.

Assistance and Oversight Without Interference: An Analysis and Critique of Defence Systems before the International and Hybrid Criminal Courts and Tribunals

18th December 2015

Article published as part of a compendium on the Legacy of the ICTR. Provides an overview and critical analysis of the development of  the defence systems before all the international and internationalised criminal courts and tribunals.

Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: Observers’ Notes, Article by Article

18th December 2015

Contributor to this third edition (as well as contributor to first and second editions) of the most relied upon scholarly reference for the interpretation and application of the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court. (Published by C.H. Beck, Hart Nomos) Edited by Professor Kai Ambos and Professor Otto Trifterrer.

Archbold International, Sweet & Maxwell, 4th Edition, 2015

31st January 2015

Leading text on law and procedure before all international criminal courts.

The Presumption of Innocence at International and Hybrid Criminal Tribunals and Courts

18th December 2014

Article published in Sri Lankan Law College Journal special edition authored by international criminal law practitioners and scholars.

Defensive Practices: Representing Clients Before the International Criminal Court

18th December 2014

Article published in Duke University (USA) Law School journal 76 Law and Contemporary Problems 191-233 (2014).

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The Lawyer as Builder: Constructing the Institutions of International Justice and the Role of Defence and Victims Counsel

18th December 2012

International Bar Association conference paper.

Principles of Evidence in International Criminal Law (Oxford University Press)

18th December 2010

Co-Editor and contributing author to book authored by international criminal law practitioners on core principles and issues governing or relevant to the collection, admissibility and evaluation of evidence before international criminal tribunals and courts.

Victim Participation Before the ECCC (working paper)

18th February 2010

Working paper published as part of Oxford Transitional Justice Research – Working Papers Series.

Enlargement and human rights law, norms and realities

18th December 2007

Article published in Security Dimension to EU enlargement. Published by Manchester University Press, Shepherd and Brown ed.

Prawa Czlowieka, Bilingual (Polish / English) Year book on Human Rights

18th February 2000

Member of Board of Editors of this annual yearbook covering human rights law developments.

Karim A. A. Khan QC admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration

27th April 2018

TGC is delighted to announce that Karim Khan QC, FCIArb, FSIArb, has been admitted as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitration effective 26 April 2018.

Karim A. A. Khan QC appointed a Recorder

22nd March 2018

Temple Garden Chambers is delighted to announce that on the advice of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Karim A. A. Khan QC  has been appointed a Recorder. The appointment will take effect from 4 April 2018.

Karim A. A. Khan QC admitted as a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators

20th March 2018

TGC is delighted to announce that Karim A. A. Khan QC (FSIArb) has been admitted as a Fellow of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators effective immediately.

Karim Khan QC and Aidan Ellis are currently representing Bruno Stojic before the Appeals Chamber of the ICTY

20th March 2017

Bruno Stojic was the Head of the Defence Department of the Croatian Community of Herceg Bosna. He is appealing against his conviction for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia in 1993. The case is expected to be the last Appeal Hearing heard by the ICTY before its closure at the end of 2017.

Karim A. A. Khan QC appointed lead counsel to represent Saif-ul-Islam Gadaffi before the ICC

29th June 2016

A press conference announcing the new appointment was held at the Hilton Hotel in The Hague on Monday 27th June 2016. Joining Karim, as counsel, will be Dato’ Shyamala Alagendra of the Bar of Malaysia as well as lawyers from France and Khaled Zayedi from Libya. This is the first time Saif ul Islam Gadaffi has appointed his own lawyers to represent him before the Court.

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