ASSEMBLY ELECTS THREE JUDGES TO SERVE IN NEW TRIAL CHAMBER OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

16 October 1998
GA/9481

ASSEMBLY ELECTS THREE JUDGES TO SERVE IN NEW TRIAL CHAMBER OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

16 October 1998


Press Release
GA/9481


ASSEMBLY ELECTS THREE JUDGES TO SERVE IN NEW TRIAL CHAMBER OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

19981016 Mohammed Bennouna (Morocco), David Hunt (Australia) and Patrick Robinson (Jamaica) Elected in Four Rounds of Balloting

The General Assembly elected three judges of the International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia in four rounds of voting today. Elected to the Tribunal were Mohammed Bennouna (Morocco), David Hunt (Australia) and Patrick Robinson (Jamaica).

The newly-elected judges will perform their duties at the third Trial Chamber of the Tribunal, established by the Security Council this year to try, without delay, the large number of accused currently awaiting trial. They will serve until 16 November 2001, when the terms of office of the current judges of the Tribunal will expire. By today's action, the Assembly fully established the third Trial Chamber of the Tribunal.

The Tribunal was instituted by the Security Council in May 1993 to prosecute persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia since 1991. Located in the Hague, it now consists of three Trial Chambers, the Appeals Chamber, the Office of the Prosecutor and the Registry.

The judges were elected from a list of nine candidates earlier established by the Security Council. Other candidates for election were: Per-Johan Lindholm (Finland), Hugo Anibal Llanos Mansilla (Chile), Jan Skupinski (Poland), Luis Valencia-Rodriguez (Ecuador), S.W.B. Wadugodapitiya (Sri Lanka), and Peter H. Wilkitzki (Germany).

The Observer for the Holy See and the representative of Mexico spoke before the balloting.

In other action this morning, the General Assembly, acting without a vote, endorsed the World Solar Programme 1996-2005 and invited all Member States to contribute to the Programme's successful implementation. It also

(Page 1a follows)

General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9481 39th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998

requested that the Secretary-General undertake concrete action to ensure that the programme was fully integrated into the mainstream of the efforts of the United Nations system. The Programme contains global, regional and national renewable energy projects to promote development and deployment of renewable energy technologies as a contribution to sustainable development worldwide.

The General Assembly will meet again on Wednesday, 21 October, to consider the report of the Security Council.

Assembly Work Programme

The General Assembly met this morning to elect judges to the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, and to act on a draft resolution on the World Solar Programme (1996-2005).

The Assembly was meeting for the election of three judges to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to serve in the third Trial Chamber, newly established by the Security Council in May. The Assembly will elect those judges from among a list of nine candidates established by the Council in August and forwarded to the Assembly by the Council President (document A/52/1023), as follows: Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco), David Hunt (Australia), Per-Johan Lindholm (Finland), Hugo Anibal Llanos Mansilla (Chile), Patrick Robinson (Jamaica), Jan Skupinski (Poland), Luis Valencia-Rodriguez (Ecuador), S.W.B. Wadugodapitiya (Sri Lanka), and Peter H. Wilkitzki (Germany). (For the curricula vitae of those candidates see document A/53/352).

The Assembly also had before it a memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/53/351) which explains that the Security Council decided to establish a third Trial Chamber to enable the Tribunal to try, without delay, the largest number of accused currently awaiting trial. To that end, by the terms of its resolution 1166 (1998), the Council amended articles 11, 12 and 13 of the Tribunal Statute and replaced them with the provisions which were set out in the annex to that resolution. It also decided that the three additional judges should be elected to the new Trial Chamber to serve until 16 November 2001, when the terms of office of the judges currently serving on the Tribunal will expire.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established by the Security Council on 25 May 1993 by the terms of its resolution 827 (1993). The election process for its judges begins with an invitation by the Secretary-General to Member States and non-member permanent observer States of the United Nations to submit up to two candidates for the Tribunal. The Secretary-General then forwards the nominations received to the Security Council, which establishes "short lists" by secret ballot, taking into account adequate representation of the principal legal systems of the world. The list of candidates, which consists of not fewer than six names and not more than nine, is then sent to the General Assembly for a final decision.

In accordance with article 13 of the Statute of the International Tribunal, from that list the General Assembly will elect three judges who receive an absolute majority of the votes of States Members and the observers. The consistent practice of the United Nations has been to interpret the words "absolute majority" as meaning a majority of all electors in the General

General Assembly Plenary - 4 - Press Release GA/9481 39th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998

Assembly, including all 185 Member States and two non-member observer States (Holy See and Switzerland). Accordingly, 94 votes constitute an absolute majority for the purpose of the present election.

The procedure of the election of judges of the International Tribunal is similar to the election of judges of the International Court of Justice, and the Secretary-General has suggested that rule 151 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly concerning those elections be applied to the election of judges of the Third Trial Chamber.

Following the practice in the election of judges of the International Court of Justice, the electors will indicate the candidates for whom they wish to vote by placing crosses against their names on the ballot papers. Each elector may vote in the first ballot for no more than three candidates. If in the first ballot the number of candidates obtaining an absolute majority is less than three, a second ballot will be held, and balloting will continue in the same meeting until three candidates have obtained an absolute majority.

Any subsequent balloting shall be unrestricted, and votes may be cast in the subsequent ballots for any eligible candidate who has not yet obtained an absolute majority. If in the first ballot more than the required number of candidates obtain an absolute majority of votes, a second ballot will be held on all candidates, and balloting will continue until no more than the required number of candidates obtains an absolute majority. In any such case, each elector may vote, both in the first and in any subsequent ballot, for three candidates.

Regarding the World Solar Programme, the Assembly had before it a draft resolution (document A/53/L.8) by which it would endorse the Programme as a contribution to the overall sustainable development agenda. Recalling that the Programme, approved by the World Solar Commission in June, aims to improve quality of life in industrialized and developing countries through the wider use of renewable energies, the Assembly would invite all Member States to contribute to its successful implementation.

The Assembly would also invite the Secretary-General -- in close cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other organizations -- to undertake concrete action to ensure that the Programme is fully integrated and mainstreamed into the efforts of the United Nations to attain sustainable development. The Secretary-General would also be asked to bring the Solar Programme to the attention of relevant funding and technical assistance sources and to encourage them to contribute to its implementation. He would also be asked to generate awareness at the international, regional and national levels of the strategic importance of the Programme to ensuring sustainable development.

General Assembly Plenary - 5 - Press Release GA/9481 39th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998

The draft is co-sponsored by China, Cuba, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mongolia, Namibia, Niger, Pakistan, Peru, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Action on Draft

The Acting President of the Assembly, Percy Metsing Mangoaela (Lesotho), announced that Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Austria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Croatia, Greece, Lesotho, Malta, Marshall Islands, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Spain, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Cameroon and Bangladesh had been added to the list of co-sponsors of the draft resolution on the World Solar Programme.

The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution on the World Solar Programme without a vote.

Statements

MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) said that once again his delegation would not participate in the election of judges to serve in the International Tribunal for crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. Mexico had consistently held that, in establishing the Tribunal, the Security Council went beyond its powers, since an explicit provision giving the Council the authority to create jurisdictional organs was nowhere to be found in the Charter.

Mexico remained convinced that once operational, the International Criminal Court which followed the rules of international law would render unnecessary the creation of new special tribunals. That position notwithstanding, Mexico would continue to pay its assessed financial contribution to the Tribunal, strictly abiding by the decisions that the Assembly had adopted on the matter.

GEORGE PANIKULAM, observer for the Holy See, said that it had welcomed the establishment of the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in 1991. From the beginning of the conflict, the Holy See had supported, especially with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the principle of personal responsibility of the parties, and therefore, saw the establishment of the International Tribunal as an instrument of the international community to express its condemnation of violations of international humanitarian law. The provisions of the Statute of the Tribunal, as amended in May by the Council, acknowledged the Holy See's active participation in the establishment of the Tribunal as a non-member State.

However, the Holy See, in consideration of its specific nature and of its objectives as a sovereign international entity, and according to the recognized practice in similar cases, had decided to abstain from casting its

General Assembly Plenary - 6 - Press Release GA/9481 39th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998

vote on individual judges for the Tribunal, he said. It expressed confidence in the choices made by the international community as well as the sincerest wishes for success of the elected judges in their service to the cause of justice. He hoped that the persisting culture of impunity would soon be brought to an end and that all persons responsible for serious crimes in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, including those in Kosovo, would be promptly brought to justice.

Election of Judges

The results of the first round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers: 174 Number of invalid ballots: 0 Number of valid ballots: 174 Abstentions: 1 Number of Members voting: 173 Required majority: 94

Number of Votes Obtained:

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) 69 David Hunt (Australia) 88 Per-Johan Lindholm (Finland) 46 Hugo Anibal Llanos Mansilla (Chile) 62 Patrick Robinson (Jamaica) 70 Jan Skupinski (Poland) 28 Luis Valencia-Rodriguez (Ecuador) 22 S.W.B. Wadugodapitiya (Sri Lanka) 40 Peter H. Wilkitzki (Germany) 74

Since no candidate acquired the required absolute majority of votes, the Assembly proceeded to the second round of balloting.

The representative of Ecuador then announced that to facilitate the election process, her country was withdrawing the candidacy of Judge Valencia-Rodriguez from the list established by the Security Council.

The representative of Poland then informed the Assembly that his country was withdrawing the name of Judge Skupinski from the list of candidates.

The results of the second round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers: 175 Number of invalid ballots: 1 Number of valid ballots: 174 Abstentions: 1 Number of Members voting: 173

General Assembly Plenary - 7 - Press Release GA/9481 39th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998

Required majority: 94

Number of Votes Obtained:

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) 76 David Hunt (Australia) 113 Per-Johan Lindholm (Finland) 30 Hugo Anibal Llanos Mansilla (Chile) 57 Patrick Robinson (Jamaica) 98 S.W.B. Wadugodapitiya (Sri Lanka) 19 Peter H. Wilkitzki (Germany) 87

Having obtained an absolute majority of votes, David Hunt (Australia) and Patrick Robinson (Jamaica) were elected as judges of the International Tribunal on Yugoslavia. The Assembly would conduct the third round of balloting to elect the third judge.

The representative of Finland then informed the Assembly that to facilitate the voting process, the candidacy of Judge Per-Johan Lindholm would be withdrawn from the list of candidates.

The representative of Sri Lanka then informed the Assembly that the candidacy of S.W.B. Wadugodapitiya would be withdrawn from the election.

The results of the third round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers: 173 Number of invalid ballots: 1 Number of valid ballots: 172 Abstentions: 1 Number of Members voting: 171 Required majority: 94

Number of Votes Obtained: Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) 72 Hugo Anibal Llanos Mansilla (Chile) 30 Peter H. Wilkitzki (Germany) 69

Since no candidate had obtained an absolute majority, the fourth round of balloting would be held.

The representative of Chile then informed the Assembly that his country was removing the name of Hugo Anibal Llanos Mansilla from the list of candidates.

The Assembly suspended its meeting at 1.50 p.m. and resumed at 3.40 p.m.

General Assembly Plenary - 8 - Press Release GA/9481 39th Meeting (AM) 16 October 1998

General Assembly Plenary - - Press Release GA/9481 Resumed 39th Meeting (AM & PM) 16 October 1998

The results of the fourth round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers: 167 Number of invalid ballots: 0 Number of valid ballots: 167 Abstentions: 0 Number of Members voting: 167 Required majority: 94

Number of Votes Obtained: Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) 98 Peter H. Wilkitzki (Germany) 69

Having obtained an absolute majority, Mr. Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) was elected a member of the Tribunal.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.