French judge resigns from International Criminal Court because of poor health

8 May 2007 –

The head of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has paid tribute to Judge Claude Jorda of France, whose permanent ill-health has forced him to resign from the body set up under an international treaty to hear trials of individuals charged with acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 2002.

Judge Jorda, whose resignation will take effect on 12 August, was assigned to the Court’s pre-trial division and has been serving as the presiding judge in the case against Thomas Lubango Dyilo, a former militia leader from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) who is charged with war crimes for enlisting child soldiers, in the first such trial for the court.

In a statement issued by the Court in The Hague, ICC President Judge Philippe Kirsch voiced regret at Judge Jorda’s departure and thanked him “for his service and for his commitment to fulfilling his obligations before leaving the Court.”

Established by the Rome Statute of 1998, the ICC can try cases involving individuals charged with war crimes committed since July 2002. The UN Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor or a State Party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC only acts when countries themselves are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute.

The Assembly of States Parties to the ICC, which currently has 104 members, will now elect a judge to fill the vacancy created by Judge Jorda’s resignation.

Before joining the ICC, the Frenchman had served previously as a judge and as the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

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