Sunday, July 31, 2011

ICC Elections: A Worrisome Update

The International Criminal Court is about to experience a massive overhaul in its professional staff, as we've discussed in posts here, here, and here. Developments in the election process to date are worrisome.

In terms of nominations to the 6 open spots on the bench, the ICC Assembly of States Parties (left) recently published an updated report setting forth the status of nominations.
The list of candidates is available here and here by region. Nominations for List A (individuals with criminal law experience per Article 36 of the ICC Statute) abound. By contrast, however, there is only 1 nomination designated under List B, which encompasses individuals with humanitarian and human rights law experience. The African states have made 5 nominations, and the rest come from Eastern Europe (2), Latin America and the Caribbean (1) (GRULAC), and Western European and Other group (2) (WEOG).

Most troubling for readers of this blog, perhaps, is that so far, there are no women nominated for the ICC bench.
To repeat: No women.
Concerns continue to be raised that the elections will be based on vote trading rather than a genuine review of each candidate on the merits. An Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections, featuring IntLawGrrl alumna Patricia M. Wald as Vice Chair, is assessing the candidates based on the treaty's requirements, as we've discussed here.

The nomination period ends on September 2, 2011, although this can be extended.

In terms of the Chief Prosecutor position, the Search Committee will continue to accept submissions and expression of interest until September 9, 2011. (See here for the Committee's Terms of Reference.)
The Search Committee and the Coalition for the ICC report that at this moment the Committee has under consideration the names of approximately 26 persons, only 5 of whom are women. Fifteen hail from WEOG, 8 from the African Group, 1 from Eastern Europe, and 2 from GRULAC.
Notably, the Asian group has produced no candidates for either the bench or the prosecutor's office.
It is no surprise that Fatou Bensouda (right), Deputy Prosecutor, is in the running for Chief Prosecutor. (See our prior posts here).
Running too for a spell was Hassan Jallow, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. However, both individuals hail from the Gambia, so Bensouda would have had to step down or be relieved of her position as Deputy Prosecutor for Jallow to serve, since Article 42(2) requires the Prosecutor and Deputy to be of different nationalities. Jallow has apparently withdrawn his candidacy, although he had the support of influential states such as the United Kingdom, which has a seat on the Search Committee.
Belgian Serge Brammertz (prior IntLawGrrls posts), the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia is also in the running, although it may be difficult for him to leave his current position with both the Karadzic and Mladic cases in trial. One other name that has been floated is Canadian Louise Arbour, former Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY and former High Commissioner for Human Rights

Assembly of States Parties.
The Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) has announced that it will nominate Estonian Ambassador Tiina Intelmann (left) as a candidate to be President of the ASP for the next 3 years, replacing Ambassador Christian Wenawesar of Liechtenstein. Intelmann has represented Estonia before the United Nations and the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe. If approved at a meeting of the entire Assembly in December, Intelmann will be the first woman to lead the Assembly, which, following the recent ratification by Tunisia, now constitutes 116 states.
Elections will take place at the 10th ASP session in New York in December 2011. Stay tuned!


atty_BK said...

There is now an Asian woman, Miriam Defensor Santiago, nominated ! No less than an awardee of the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the Magsaysay Awards for Government Service, she is well known and multi-awarded as a courageous, brilliant, and defiant judge during the regime of martial law of Marcos in the Philippines. She is a legal luminary and the Philippines' best in international law. No living Asian except the Dalai Lama perhaps can equal the awards as Defensor Santiago has for legal scholarship and moral leadership. Now, that democracy has been returned to the Philippines, this woman deserves to be in the ICC.

atty_BK said...

The ICC elections now has one woman candidate, Miriam Defensor Santiago from the Philippines. She is recipeint of the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the Magsaysay Awards for government service. A brilliant scholar and fearless regional trial court judge, Defensor Santiago authored books in international law and criminal law that are standard textbooks. Unlike others in government with no moral scruples, Defensor Santiago serves as the model of the Philippine youth, the legal sector, as well as those who stood up against during those dark days of martial law at the risk of her life. She is such a welcome development at the ICC and we hope she wins for Asia !