Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

New Judge Selection

Nominations close for the selection of the next group of permanent tribunal judges

At least eight new trials, involving 15 defendants, are expected to get underway at The Hague war crimes tribunal this year.

Some of the cases are ready to go to trial now, but scheduling is on hold until the United Nations General Assembly appoints 14 new permanent judges. The deadline for nominations expired last week.

Out of the current team of judges, three have decided not to seek new terms - Judges Lal Chand Vohrah, Malaysia, and Fouad Abdel-Moneim Riad, Egypt, both of whom have served since 1993, and Patricia Wald, United States.

Wald arrived in November 1999 to replace Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald, then tribunal president.

Ten others are looking for new mandates - tribunal president Claude Jorda, France, vice-president Florence Ndepele Mwachande Mumba, David Anthony Hunt, Australia, Richard George May, United Kingdom, Almiro Simoes Rodrigues, Portugal, Mohamed Shahabuddeen,Guyana, Rafael Nieto-Navia, Colombia, Patrick Lipton Robinson, Jamaica, Fausto Pocar, Italy, and Liu Daqun, China.

Judge Mohamed Bennouna takes up a new job as Moroccan ambassador to the United Nations in March 2001. He will be replaced by fellow Moroccan Mohamed El Habib Fassi Fihri.

Wald and Riad are part of trial chamber I, currently hearing the trials of General Radislav Krstic and Omarska detention camp officials. The judges will sit until these trials are completed.

Six other pre-trial cases are also awaiting the outcome of the judges' selection process. If the judge selection process gets drawn out, then these trials may not begin before November 16, 2001 - the date the new judges are sworn in.

Sources close to the nomination process say the number and quality of judges put forward to the General Assembly is extremely high.

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