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Three more judges elected to International Criminal Court

Three more judges elected to International Criminal Court

The countries taking part in the organizing assembly for the world's first permanent war crimes court, being held at United Nations Headquarters in New York this week, today elected three more of the required 18 judges who will be the first to serve on the new tribunal.

The first resumed session of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which began Monday, has so far elected 11 judges out of a pool of 43 candidates to the tribunal, six of them women.

The three judges elected in a fourth and fifth round of secret balloting this morning were Georghios M. Pikis of Cyprus, Philippe Kirsch of Canada and Erkki Kourula of Finland.

They join Karl Hudson-Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago, who was elected in the third round of voting late yesterday afternoon. Elected earlier in the week were Maureen Harding Clark of Ireland, Fatoumata Dembele Diarra of Mali, Sang-hyun Song of the Republic of Korea, Sylvia Helena de Figueiredo Steiner of Brazil, Akua Kuenyehia of Ghana, Elizabeth Odio Benito of Costa Rica, and Navanethem Pillay of South Africa.

All the judges elected this week will be sworn in when the Court is inaugurated in The Hague on 11 March. The jurists and the Prosecutor, who will be elected by consensus later, will be key to shaping the Court and making it an independent, fair and effective institution. The treaty establishing the Court entered into force in July 2002.

The States Parties will reconvene tomorrow morning to conclude their voting.

The Court is expected to be operational by the end of 2003 and will be the world's only permanent tribunal for prosecuting individuals responsible for war crimes, including genocide, and crimes against humanity, and, eventually, the crime of aggression. The Court will have jurisdiction only over crimes committed after 1 July 2002, when the Statute entered into force.