UN Security Council elects 4 new ICC judges

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - The UN Security Council, meeting independently from, but concurrently with the General Assembly, late Thursday elected four judges to the International Court of Justice (ICC).

The judges will serve nine-year terms, beginning from 6 February, 2012.

The council, however, failed to elect a fifth judge during five rounds of secret balloting, the UN said in a news dispatch.

Out of a list of eight candidates, the Council elected Italian Giorgio Gaja, Professor of International Law at the University of Florence School of Law; Japanese Hisashi Owada, President of the International Court of Justice, Peter Tomka (Slovakia), Vice-President of the International Court of Justice, and Xue Hanqin (China), Judge at the International Court of Justice.

Under the terms of the Court’s Statute, a candidate obtaining an absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and the Council is considered elected.

In the Security Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority and no distinction is made between permanent and non-permanent Council members.

By contrast, all 193 Member States in the General Assembly are electors.

Accordingly, for the purpose of Thursday's election, 97 votes constituted an absolute majority in the Assembly because only four candidates received the required majority in both the Council and the Assembly after the first concurrent ballot -- Gaja,
Owada, Tomka and  Xue -- four new rounds of secret balloting were called in the Council.

Each time, Abdul Koroma of Sierra Leone, attained the required majority in the Council, while Julia Sebutinde of Uganda received the required majority in the Assembly.

A sixth round of secret balloting will, therefore, be held concurrently with the Assembly at a date to be announced.

The Court’s composition at 6 February, 2012, will be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parentheses):

Ronny Abraham (France) (2018),  Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (2018), Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) (2015), Joan Donoghue (United States) (2015), Antônio Trindade (Brazil) (2018), Giorgio Gaja (Italy) (2021), Christopher Greenwood (UK) (2018) and Kenneth Keith (New Zealand) (2015).

Others are Hisashi Owada (Japan) (2021), Bernardo Amor (Mexico)(2015),  Xue Hanqin (China) (2021),  Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation) (2015),  Peter Tomka (Slovakia) (2021) and Abdulqawi Yusuf (Somalia) (2018), with one position to be filled.

Located in The Hague, Netherlands, the ICC is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It adjudicates between States and its legal opinions are binding. The Court also issues advisory opinions when requested to do so.

The terms of office of the following five members of the Court will expire on 5 February, 2012 -- Abdul Koroma, Hisashi Owada,  Shi Jiuyong, Bruno Simma (Germany) and Peter Tomka.

The election of ICC judges is a matter of particular interest to Kenyans because six prominent Kenyans are appearing before the court, also known as the World Court, at the Hague, The Netherlands, over the post-elections violence which claimed 1,300 lives and left 350,000 displaced.

A disputed presidential election in December 2007 in which both incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and then chief challenger (now prime minister)Raila Odinga, claimed victory.

The six have been appearing at the Hague for confirmation hearings, to confirm if they bear the greatest responsibility for the violence. The ICC will rule on the case in December.

They are appearing before the Pre-Trial Division.

The six are Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner, now Postal Corporation of Kenya CEO Hussein Ali, former Industrialisation Minister Henry Kosgey, ex-Agriculture Minister William Ruto and journalist, radio presenter Joshua Sang.

Ekaterina Trendafilova, a Bulgarian, is the presiding judge in the Kenyan case, while the ICC Chief Prosecutor Moreno Ocampo, an Argentine, is the prosecutor.
-0- PANA DJ/VAO 11Nov2011

11 november 2011 16:15:45

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