BRUSSELS (Kyodo) Fumiko Saiga, the first Japanese judge on the International Criminal Court, died Friday of heart failure at a hospital in the Netherlands, the Foreign Ministry said Saturday. She was 65.

A diplomat-turned-judge, the native of Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture, had been receiving medical treatment since mid-April. Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone lamented her death in a statement, saying Saiga “made significant contributions in many areas, including human rights and humanitarian issues.”

Saiga was elected an ICC judge based in The Hague in November 2007 and re-elected last January. She was in charge of war crimes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

She began her career as a diplomat in 1966 after graduating from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and served as consul general in Seattle, ambassador to Norway and Iceland and an envoy in charge of human rights.

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