First Georgian judge to Hague International Criminal Court sworn in

  • Gocha Lortkipanidze was elected ICC judge in December 2020. Photo:  Shot from ICC video, 10 Mar 2021 - 19:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

Acting Justice Minister Gocha Lortkipanidze, who has made history by becoming the first Georgian judge at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for nine-year tenure, was sworn in today.

Lortkipanidze, together with five other judges, has made a solemn undertaking in open court:

Assembly of States Parties President Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi welcomed incoming judges to the Court, wishing them ‘a successful and rewarding experience at the Court’. 

They can be proud and grateful for the opportunity they have been granted to take part in the development of a much needed global system of justice. The Court, with its weaknesses and strengths, continues to be a central part of that system and an indispensable piece of a rules-based international order”, Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi said.

Addressing the newly sworn-in judges, President of the Court Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji said ‘victims across the globe look to the Hague in hope of justice, when domestic courts fail to provide redress’.

The expectations are high, and the challenges can seem daunting at times. But I am confident that your stellar experience and stalwart antecedents will stand you in good stead to meet those expectations and challenges", Chile Eboe-Osuji  said. 

The ICC has a total of 18 judges - nationals of States Parties to the Rome Statute - who are chosen 'from among persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices’. 

Lortkipanidze, 57, has graduated Essex University, Harvard School of Law, and Fordham University School of Law.

He has worked at the Georgian Foreign Ministry in 1991-2005, later becoming prime minister's adviser in foreign affairs and international law. 

Between 2007 and 2010 he was invited to Columbia University as a researcher, while in 2010-2013, Lortkipanidze became an adjunct professor of the university.

Lortkipanidze, who has been deputy justice minister since 2012, served as acting justice minister following the recent parliamentary elections in Georgia.  

Before being elected ICC judge in December 2020, he represented Eastern Europe in the ICC Trust Fund for Victims.

Legal advisor of Georgia to UN Giorgi Mikeladze has tweeted: