Minister Cowen Welcomes Election Of Irish candidate as Judge of the International Criminal Court
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen T.D., today welcomed the election of Judge Maureen Harding Clark as a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Securing 65 out of 83 votes, Judge Clark jointly topped the poll.
The election commenced at the United Nations in New York yesterday with States Parties to the Court voting for the 18 judges of the ICC, which will hold its inaugural session at The Hague on 11 March.
Minister Cowen said
“Ireland's choice of such a high-calibre candidate is a further manifestation of Ireland's early and steadfast support for the International Criminal Court. Judge Clark's election is a vindication of that support.
Ireland attaches great importance to the International Criminal Court and we believe that it will benefit greatly from the experience of Judge Clark who has, most recently, done such valuable work at the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia”.
Note for Editors
The first international war crimes tribunals arose out of the Second World War. The example of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals led to calls to establish a permanent court to try such crimes, but these calls initially met with little success. However, in the 1990s the United Nations set up ad hoc tribunals to deal with atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The establishment of these tribunals led the international community to commence negotiations to provide for a permanent international criminal court. These negotiations culminated in 1998 with the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction to deal with the crimes of most serious concern to the international community, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Ireland ratified the Rome Statute in April 2002 following a popular referendum and it entered into force on 1 July 2002.
The Assembly of States Parties to the Statute (ASP) is obliged to elect eighteen judges to serve on the ICC which will be located in The Hague.
Candidates are required to be of high moral character, impartiality and integrity and to possess the qualifications necessary for appointment to high judicial office domestically. Candidates are also required to have established competence as criminal practitioners (List A candidates) or as international lawyers (List B candidates). Legal expertise on violence against women and children is also relevant.
States Parties, in voting for candidates, are obliged to have regard to the need for representation of the principal legal systems of the world, equitable geographical representation and a fair representation of male and female judges. In principle, States Parties are obliged to vote for at least three candidates from each United Nations regional group; at least nine List A and at least five List B candidates; and at least six men and at least six women.
Judge Maureen Harding Clark was nominated by the Government of Ireland as a List A candidate. She has extensive experience of criminal law and gender-related expertise. She has been serving as an ad litem (temporary) Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since September 2001, having been elected by the General Assembly of the United Nations in June 2001. She has been highly commended by the Presidents of the Court and of the Trial Chamber in which she is serving, as well as by international experts and the NGO community.