Three International Criminal Court judges are expected to decide whether President Kenyatta’s trial continues or is terminated.
The three judges, representing three continents, vary in their experience at the ICC and international criminal law.
Presiding Judge Kuniko Ozaki, a Japanese national appointed to the court in January 2010, is the senior member of the trio.
A holder of an international relations degree from Oxford University and a former senior official in the Japanese Foreign and Justice ministries, Judge Ozaki has “extensive practical and academic experience in the field of international criminal law and human rights,” according to her ICC biography.
The 58-year-old judge has also expressed a strong personal commitment to promoting the rule of law, enhancing peace and justice, and “putting an end to the culture of impunity.”
When applying to be a judge at ICC in 2009, Ms Ozaki responded in a questionnaire that she considers those efforts “to be my life’s work.”
More recently, she issued a partly dissenting opinion on the ICC panel’s September 30 majority ruling that President Kenyatta must be present in The Hague courtroom for Wednesday’s status conference.
Agreeing with her colleagues that the conference marks “a critical juncture” in Mr Kenyatta’s case, Judge Ozaki suggested that the defendant could participate in the conference either in person or by way of video-link.
Mr Robert Fremr, a Czech national who became an ICC judge in March 2011, ranks second in seniority in the three-member panel. Born in 1957, Judge Fremr holds a degree from the Charles University Law School in Prague and is a former justice of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic.
He served for four years as a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Judge Geoffrey Henderson on the other hand is younger and newer to the court than his two colleagues.
Born in 1961, the Trinidad and Tobago national became an ICC judge 10 months ago.
He appears to have scant background in international law, having spent his career as a judge and prosecutor in the domestic justice system of Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr Justice Henderson has indirectly addressed claims that the ICC has shown bias against Africa in its choice of cases to hear.
The biggest challenge facing the court, he wrote, is “the perception held that it is capable of being used as a vehicle for the unjust prosecution and unfair targeting of some leaders and that justice at the ICC is unduly affected by the political mandate of nations.”
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