Thursday, 11 October 2012

Another Comment on l'affaire Sow


Michael Bohlander was not the only person to have difficulty posting on the blog. Deborah Forbes has written a comment on his post, which was published here a few days ago:

Dear Professor Bohlander,

Like you, I have been unable to post comments on Prof. Bill's blog.  I however wanted to draw your attention to the following:-

1. SCSL Rules required that Judge Sow participates in all deliberations.  If the other three Judges held deliberations without him, that is problematic.  He is a very deligent Judge, the only one who is said not to have missed a single sitting of the case.  If he says there were no deliberations, we have to believe he means what he says, there were no deliberations.  If there were deliberations, then the other three must come out and either prove it or say so.

2. Volume of the Judgment: If you look at the first 750 pages closely, you will notice that it is a cut and paste job from previous judgements.  In case you are not aware, the formating of the original judgement told it all.  You will notice that the judgement was issued, posted on the Court's site, withdrawn from the SCSL site and refiled.

3. If rules are important, then Justice Julia Sebutinde of Uganda was unavailable from the date she took office at the ICJ.  ICJ rules do not allow her to continue sitting at SCSL and neither do UN rules allow her to hold any other judicial office other than the SCSL, except with the permission of the appointing authority.  As far as Judge Sow was concerned, he had become a substantive Judge from the date Sebutinde became unavailable.  He is convinced that it was within his remit to make the statement that he made.  He was technically a substantive Judge with a right to dissent.

Lastly, before you get tough on the Defence and Sow, find out why it was so important that Julia Sebutinde of Uganda remained in Office for the Taylor Judgement at all costs, against all rules and odds. Who is flouting the rules here, Judge Sow or The Court and Sebutinde.
Consider unprecedented 14 rounds of voting for ICJ Justice Sebutinde, she gets the majority in the GA but the SC (read America) says no.........remember wikileaks, Sebutinde and the Americans at war with each other, then suddenly, she bags the ICJ job but she must remain on the Taylor Bench?
Why did we have an alternate Judge at all?  He could have taken over her role on the Taylor .  She missed many Court sessions but Judge Sow did not?
In summary, perversion of justice, Taylor was guilty before his trial began. This is what we human rights activists should abhor, using International systems to endorse political agendas.

Sow did human rights a great favour, the rules we love and respect are destined to fail if we continue this way.

1 comment:

Alex Mezyaev said...

Dear Debora! Thank you for your comment and extensive analysis of judge Sebutinde's non-substitution. Let me draw yours and blog readers attention to the fact that far on April,30 I posted a comment on this matter on opiniojuris. Nothwithstanding that the discussion was intensive, my post (authored as aalexmez) was final - nobody wanted to explain why J.Sebutinde was forcibly remained as a judge in Taylor case and M.Sow was not entered the bench...
http://opiniojuris.org/2012/04/26/one-dissent-in-the-taylor-case/#comments