16 April 2012
General Assembly
GA/11227

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

105th Meeting (AM)


General Assembly Elects Three Judges to Fill Upcoming Vacancies

 

in United Nations Dispute Tribunal

 


The General Assembly today filled three impending vacancies on the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, the panel inaugurated in 2009 to help bolster the world body’s system for dealing with internal grievances and disciplinary cases.


Acting on the recommendations of the Internal Justice Council, the Assembly held separate secret ballots in electing candidates to fill vacancies in all three of the Tribunal’s judicial divisions:  full-time judge; half-time judge and ad litem judge.


Having won the required majority of votes, Mehmooda Ebrahim-Carstens (Botswana) was re-appointed as full-time judge for a seven–year term, beginning on 1 July 2012; Goolam Hoosen Kader Meeran (United Kingdom) was re-appointed as half-time judge for a seven-year term beginning on 1 July 2012; and Alessandra Greceanu (Romania) was appointed ad-litem judge for a six-month term, beginning on 16 April.  [Ms. Greceanu will replace Judge Marilyn Kaman, who, for personal reasons, declined to accept the extension of her appointment for an additional six-month period approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 65/251 of 2011.]


Also acting on the Internal Justice Council’s recommendations, the Assembly extended the terms of two incumbent ad litem judges — Jean-François Cousin (France) and Nkemdilim Amelia Izuako (Nigeria) — through 31 December 2012.


In 2008, under resolution 62/228 on “administration of justice at the United Nations”, the Assembly established the basic framework for a new independent, transparent, professionalized, and decentralized system of administration of justice.  That text emphasized the importance of an efficient and effective system of internal justice to ensure that individuals and the Organization were held accountable for their actions, in accordance with relevant resolutions and regulations.


Among other things, the resolution established a two-tier formal system for the administration of justice, comprising a first-instance United Nations Dispute Tribunal, and an appellate Tribunal, to be based in New York.  Another body created under resolution 62/228 — the Internal Justice Council — reviewed applications in July 2008 and interviewed shortlisted candidates in September 2008.  The Assembly adopted the statutes of the respective Tribunals in resolution 63/253, and the two bodies became operational as of 1 July 2009.


Now up and running for nearly four years, the Tribunal is located in Geneva, Nairobi and New York, but it may also decide to hold sessions at other duty stations.  It operates on a full-time basis and comprises five permanent, professional judges — three full-time and two half-time — with one full-time judge in Geneva, Nairobi and New York, respectively.  As a provisional measure, the General Assembly further decided to appoint three ad litem, or temporary, judges in order to strengthen the Tribunal’s capacity to adjudicate cases transferred from the former system of administration of justice.


Today’s meeting began with Member States observing a minute of silence in memory of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi, followed by expressions of condolence by representatives of the regional groups to that nation’s Government and people.  The representatives of Algeria (on behalf of the African Group), Mongolia (on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Group), Bulgaria (on behalf of the Eastern European Group), Guatemala (on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group) and Sweden (on behalf of the Western European and Other States Group) made brief statements, as did the representative of the United States (as host country).


The speakers acknowledged the late President’s achievements in the areas of agricultural production and food security, including a partnership with other African nations known as “African Food Basket”.  His achievements included legal and economic reform, fiscal restraint and anti-corruption measures, they said, stressing that his efforts transcended Malawi’s national borders and positively contributed to regional reconciliation and security on the African continent as a whole.  President Mutharika had received numerous national and international awards, including the United Nations Special Millennium Development Goal Award in 2010 for Malawi’s success towards eliminating hunger, they added.


Malawi’s representative, thanking all delegates for their kind condolences, recalled that the President had passed away on 5 April after suffering a cardiac arrest.  “Malawians will fondly remember President Mutharika for his vision in the fight against poverty and hunger, as well as achieving food security,” he said.  Further, the late President, in his capacity as Chairman of the African Union in 2010, had proposed a road map for Africa to achieve food security and sustainability.  He had likewise championed the African Food Basket Initiative as a priority agenda.  A new Malawian President had been sworn in on 7 April, he said, noting that Joyce Banda had “made history by being the first woman to assume this important position in my country and Southern Africa, and of course the second female President in Africa”.


Voting Results:  Dispute Tribunal


Full-Time Judge


Number of Ballot Papers:

169

Number of Invalid Ballots:

0

Number of Valid Ballots:

169

Abstentions:

1

Number of Votes:

168

Required Majority:

85

Ms. Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens ( Botswana)

135

Ms. Danielle Grenier ( Canada)

33


Half-Time Judge


Number of Ballot Papers:

166

Number of Invalid Ballots:

1

Number of Valid Ballots:

165

Abstentions:

3

Number of Votes:

162

Required Majority:

82

Mr. Goolam Hoosen Kader Meeran ( United Kingdom)

93

Mr. Jean-Francois Cousin (France)

69


Ad Litem Judge


Number of Ballot Papers:

166

Number of Invalid Ballots:

0

Number of Valid Ballots:

166

Abstentions:

3

Number of Votes:

163

Required Majority:

82

Ms. Alessandra Greceanu ( Romania)

103

Ms. Danielle Grenier ( Canada)

60


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For information media • not an official record