Security Council sets June date for filling vacancy at International Court of Justice

18 March 2010

The Security Council decided today that the election to fill the vacancy at the principal judicial organ of the United Nations arising from the resignation of Judge Shi Jiuyong will take place on 29 June.

Judge Shi Jiuyong, whose resignation takes effect on 28 May, has served on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) since February 1994.

He was re-elected in 2003, and served as Vice-President of the Court from 2000 to 2003 and as President from 2003 until 2006.

The election to choose his successor, the date for which was fixed in a resolution unanimously adopted by the Council, will take place in both the Council and the General Assembly, according to the Court’s rules.

The ICJ, which is based in The Hague, settles legal disputes submitted to it by States, and gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred by certain international bodies.

The Council also took action today on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), set up to deal with some of the worst crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, extending the terms of two of its judges so that they can complete the trial of Vujadin Popović.

Mr. Popović is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity for his part in the murders in the town of Srebrenica, which was supposed to be a “safe haven,” in July 1995 in one of the most notorious events of the Balkan wars.

Earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the ICTY will need more time to complete its work after originally being scheduled to wind down at the end of this year.

Mr. Ban told reporters that “there is some broad agreement now that the ICTY may need at least a few more years, to 2013 or so,” before it can finish its work.

Under a completion strategy struck with the Council, it was scheduled to begin downsizing this year, in line with its nature as a temporary institution.

The tribunal has concluded proceedings against more than 120 accused since it began work and trials or appeals are pending or continuing in several dozen cases. Two leading suspects remain at large, Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladić and ethnic Serb politician Goran Hadžić, with both facing a lengthy series of charges.

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