Meet Judge Hohler, one of new ICC Judges
A snapshot into the life of the youngest judge elected to the International Criminal Court
1 May 2024

You are the youngest judge elected to the ICC. Does age matter when it comes to judges?

I am proud to be the youngest judge elected to the ICC so far. I do not believe age is a factor, what matters is competence, experience and expertise, and integrity. The strength of ICC Judiciary lies precisely in its diversity – diversity in terms of legal systems represented, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, diversity of experience and – diversity in age.

Your legal experience combines work at both the domestic and international levels. How does one reinforce the other?

I strongly believe in cross-fertilization between domestic criminal law and international criminal law. I think the two can inform each other and international lawyers should be open to learning from best practices in domestic jurisdictions where appropriate, and vice versa.

The ICC Statute states that judges are persons of ‘high moral character’ and ‘integrity’. How do these two terms manifest in reality?

For me, being of high moral character means a personal history of fairness, respect for the rights of others, and transparency. It means always being honest, fair, truthful, trustworthy, reliable, diligent and courageous. As judges we must be conscious that our actions not only reflect on us personally but also on the justice process of which we are a part.

What does the future hold for the Court in your view, especially with high profile cases on its docket?

The Court has always faced challenges and criticism, and today is no different. It is significant that 25 years since the Rome Statute was adopted, the Court has 124 States Parties and is dealing with 17 situations across the world. It is a functioning institution, and this is a major achievement. I believe the Court must be a responsive, universal, resilient international institution that instills trust and public confidence, and is recognized for its independence, effective management of proceedings, and high-quality decision-making. 

The views expressed in this article are not attributable to the International Court of Justice.

* Avo Sevag Garabet is Associate Information Officer at the ICJ. The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations established by the UN Charter in 1945 and the ICC is an international criminal court established by the Rome Statute in 1998
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