Judge Hans-Peter Kaul today informed friends and colleagues that he will be resigning from the International Criminal Court effective 1 July 2014 for health reasons. Judge Kaul began his service at the Court in 2003 and was re-elected to a nine-year term that began in 2006. His contribution to the work of the International Criminal Court, as well as to its creation, has been immense.
|Judge Kaul and myself at Chautauqua a few years ago.|
A speech he delivered a few months ago at Fudan University in China can be found here. At that time, Judge Kaul reminded listeners of his boyhood, growing up in the ruins of post-war Germany. Judge Kaul is a sterling example of everything that is great about modern Germany and modern Germans: he is profoundly committed to international justice, deeply loyal to the work of the Nuremberg Tribunal, and utterly devoted to the importance of addressing the supreme international crime, the crime of aggression.
Judge Kaul began working on the draft statute of the International Criminal Court in 1996. He was then at the height of his diplomatic career in the Germany foreign service. I recall a conference held in Berlin a few years later at which Judge Kaul took a group of participants to visit the Foreign Ministry. He explained how he had been part of a small and select team of diplomats who had travelled from Bonn to Berlin at the time of reunification in order, in effect, to take possession of the East German foreign ministry.
As director of international law in the German foreign service, Hans-Peter Kaul led his country’s negotiating team at the meetings of the Preparatory Committee, where I first met him. At the Rome Conference, in 1998, he was head of an enormously influential delegation, packed with international criminal law expertise. His fingerprints can be found on many crucial provisions of the Rome Statute.
In his eleven years on the Court, he has served in the Pre-Trial Chamber. Judge Kaul was also a vice-president of the Court from 2009 to 2012. He has dealt with all of the important situations addressed by the Court. His contribution to the judicial work of the Court has included separate opinions on such issues as the interpretation of the policy element associated with crimes against humanity. His profound understanding of the object and purpose of the Statute's many enigmatic provisions has certainly enriched his colleagues and thereby contributed in countless ways to the evolving jurisprudence of the Court. But he has also been a tireless promoter of the Court, traveling around the world to encourage States to ratify the Statute.