Britain’s Karim Khan has emerged as the front-runner to become the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

BBC News Africa has learnt that Mr Khan is now one of only four candidates in contention to replace Gambian Fatou Bensouda, whose term expires in June.

The other five candidates, including a Nigerian and Uganda judge, have dropped out of the intensive process which requires lobbying and securing the support of voting members.

The other remaining candidates are Fergal Gaynor from Ireland, Spaniard Ferdinand Carlos Castresana and Italian prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi.

The elections will be held in New York later on Friday as 123 member states of the Rome Statute – the law that set up the ICC – meet for their general assembly.

Mrs Bensouda has been the ICC’s chief prosecutor since 2011, after replacing Argentine lawyer Luis Moreno Ocampo.

During her tenure, she secured more convictions than her predecessor – the latest being the historic case of former Ugandan rebel commander Dominic Ongwen who was this month convicted of war crimes.

But the ICC has also faced sharp criticism, mainly that it’s targeted Africans.

Last June, Mrs Bensouda was banned from traveling to the US after the then American President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing financial sanctions on her.