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The Eleven Elected Judges

Tribunal Update 29: Last Week in The Hague (May 19-24, 1997)
By IWPR ICTY

The UN Security Council last month nominated 19 candidates, and the final choice was up to the Assembly, where an absolute majority of 94 votes was needed to win election. The following nine judges were elected in the first round of balloting:

Mr Antonio Cassese of Italy, the Tribunal's current president (146 votes);

Mr Richard George May of the UK (129);

Mr Mohamed Shahabudeen of Guyana (127);

Mr Wand Tieya of China (123);

Mr Claude Jorda of France (119);

Mrs Gabrielle Kirk McDonald of the US (118);

Mr Fouad Abdel-Moneim Riad of Egypt (118);

Mr Lal Chand Vohrah of Malaysia (113);

Mr Rafael Nieto Navia of Colombia (96).

The remaining two judges were elected in the fourth and sixth round of balloting:

Mrs Florence Ndepele Mwachande Mumba of Zambia (95 votes);

Mr Almiro Simoes Rodrigues of Portugal (108).

Five of those elected are currently serving on the Court: Cassese, McDonald, Jorda, Riad and Vohrah).

The 11 judges will be sworn in on November 17, 1997, at the Tribunal's seat in The Hague. Soon after they will elect a president for a two-year term and will agree upon the composition of the Chambers (two Trial Chambers of three judges each, and one Appeals Chamber of five judges).

It is likely that one of the newly elected judges will be appointed by the UN Secretary General to replace Judge Jules Deschenes of Canada, who recently resigned for health reasons.

It is significant that the number of European judges in the Tribunal's team has doubled: from November, May and Rodrigues will join the current duo (Cassese and Jorda). The ICTY is an international, not a European, court, but it was established to judge those responsible for the worst war crimes in Europe since World War II, so it was not logical to have more judges from Asia than from the scene of the crime - i.e., Europe - pronouncing judgement on that.

It is interesting that none of the three judges currently conducting the Celebici trial (as Trial Chamber II) has been re-elected: Karibi-White of Nigeria, Odio-Benito of Costa Rica and Jan of Pakistan. This means that, either the Celebici trial will have to end before November 17, 1997, which at present seems unlikely, or the Tribunal will have to amend its rules to enable Trial Chamber II to conclude the Celebici Trial with the same team with which it started.

Therefore, at least for part of 1998, the Tribunal would have 14 judges rather than 11.