Three extra judges to serve on UN tribunal for the Balkan wars

Three extra judges to serve on UN tribunal for the Balkan wars

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Three temporary judges were today sworn in before the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the worst crimes committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s so that the court can handle more trials simultaneously.

Judges Pedro R. David of Argentina, Elizabeth Gwaunza of Zimbabwe and Michele Picard of France were sworn in before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), bringing the total number of ad litem, or temporary, judges serving on the Tribunal to 15.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Judges David and Picard to sit on the Jovica Stanišic; and Franko Simatovic; case, scheduled to begin later this month, while Judge Gwaunza will serve on the Gotovina and others case, also expected to start this month.

The appointment of the three new judges to the ICTY, which is based in The Hague, means it can now hear eight trials concurrently, an all-time high for the Tribunal.

As well as the ad litem judges appointed to specific trials, the ICTY has 16 permanent judges who are elected by the General Assembly. The ad litem judges are chosen by the UN Secretary-General – at the request of the Tribunal’s President – from a pool of 27 selected by the Assembly.

Last month the Security Council approved a temporary increase in the number of ad litem ICTY judges from a maximum of 12 to a maximum of 16 during this year so that the Tribunal can better meet its Council-imposed target of trying all defendants by the end of 2008.