Thursday, 18 September 2008

Candidate Judges for the International Criminal Court

Nominations are open to fill six judicial positions at the International Criminal Court. Ten candidates have been nominated so far. The process concludes on 13 October and will be followed by an election early next year. Full details on the candidates are available at:
Some of the names are well-known international judges and will surely be great additions to the Court: Christine Van den Wyngaert (Belgium) is currently at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and as an academic she has been one of the bright stars in international criminal law for many years. Mohamed Shahabuddeen (Guyana) is one of the great judges of the Appeals Chamber of the ad hoc tribunals; previously, he served on the International Court of Justice.
The third familiar name - currently a judge at the Special Court for Sierra Leone - is Rosolu John Bankole Thompson. He would be a less desirable choice. Thompson distinguished himself a year ago as the dissenting judge on the Trial Chamber in the 'CDF case'. He voted to acquit pro-government militias of atrocities because they were defending a democratically elected government. It was an absurd and outrageous suggestion, and of course it finds no echo in international criminal law. But Thompson was appointed to the Special Court for Sierra Leone by the Government of Sierra Leone and - surprise, surprise! - he voted to acquit murderers and rapists because they were defending the Government of Sierra Leone. Now he is being rewarded by being nominated for the International Criminal Court by that same Government of Sierra Leone.

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