International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Politics of the Court

This page from the International Criminal Court website describes the results from the first round of the recent elections for judges to the ICC. It’s interesting to see the breakdown of the votes between candidates – it lead me to question the standards that are used to deem whom is most apt to sit on the Court. Which standards do the electors use? Can we use this as an avenue to examine to what degree the ICC is a politically driven institution versus a legally driven and generated body. The question seems particularly relevant to me because the ICC is still so relatively new.

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6 responses to “Politics of the Court

  1. kmumass February 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I would have to agree this is very interesting. One does question what the credentials for being elected as an ICC judge are. Because the differnt elected persons seem very different. I find it quite interesting that the people that were first elected were from countries that are not neccessarily especially relevant to ICC. I cannot tell if that would be better for a more fair trial or worse due to a lack of empathy for people from different cultures. I definitely think that they need to fine tune the system and make a more specific list of qualifications so as to have a more effective system

  2. michaelbasumass February 14, 2012 at 11:03 am

    The credibility of the ICC on an global level is struggling. Opposition to the court is diverse and it’s validity is often questioned, and not just by those who are being prosecuted. It seems evident that the process for electing new judges and other members to the court must be overtly transparent and follow a rigidly strict and high standard in order to expand the credibility of the court. I admit that my knowledge of the nomination and electoral process of judges in the ICC is limited, but based on the small amount of information provided on the original link above, it seems that transparency when it comes to standards and qualifications must be vastly improved.

  3. ecadams February 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I agree that the process should be more transparent. On the basic level any judge who sits on the ICC should have thorough knowledge of International Law (Is there an international bar or something equivalent to that?) and should be vetted on their past positions in their home country and on the international front. In response to the first comment, I also find the nationality of the judges interesting. Lack of connection could serve to be a more neutral trial setting, but on the other hand understanding of background and culture would most likely serve better justice for perpetrators and victims. A sad reality of any court is that there is always be a gap between their rulings and how they effect those on the ground, and there is serious danger of this for the ICC since it works on a global scale. Thus, as said above, the election of judges should be strict and have high standards, but with every election it should be considered how these judges might deal with the situations that the ICC is currently dealing with, based on their backgrounds. Even if all are qualified, one judge might be better for an ongoing situation.

    Another question that this brings up is how exactly are the judges elected? Who is voting? Is there an approval process after they are voted upon? (Of course I’m thinking along the lines U.S. Supreme Court Justice appointments and how the Senate must approve them, I’m not sure how judges are appointed in other countries.)

  4. Alana Tiemessen February 17, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Here’s a good summary from the CICC on the election of ICC judges: http://www.iccnow.org/?mod=electionjudges

  5. aojustice2012 February 19, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    The section describing the Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections at the bottom of the page answered a lot of my prior questions. Thanks for the link! I think it’s fascinating that with the ICC, the States-Parties seem to be creating a format for an international civil society “backwards.” The institution of the ICC was ‘built’ first, with the Rome Statute, and the case precedence’s developing a concept of what constitutes “international law” norms (i.e. the recent introduction of the conscription and use of child soldiers as a violation of international laws) and which institutions would be necessary to support the ICC – like the Independent Panel – arose around it. I feel it says something about the strong international consensus for some form of universal moral ground of what constitutes “justice.” For example even the United States, China and Russia, whom we’ve discussed have not been the biggest fans of the ICC, did not directly veto passing jurisdiction of the Sudan “Situation” to the ICC.

  6. c131178n February 21, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I also found that this article is really interesting.
    I think assuring the credibility and eliminating every misgivings towards the ICC are essential for guaranteeing the legitimacy of the institution itself. However, I don’t think that the electing procedure cannot be more transparent than the status quo. As stated in the link above, “States Parties are required to take into account equitable geographical representation, a fair gender balance and representation of the principal legal systems of the world”. Panel debates by the candidate judges are required in order to prove their competences. As long as the election results are satisfying the prescribed criteria, I think it would be difficult for the international society to doubt the neutrality. One response raised the point of concern that judges lacking the empathy for people from different cultures, however, only having the same nationality or region same as victims does not really prove that they have an appropriate empathy enough to judge appropriately. If the empathy is too strong, it might have a possibility to become sort of a victors justice as well. In addition, the elected judges are judging every cases during their tenure because it is a permanent institution. It should not be specifically strong to certain cases. In terms of the election process, clarifying the criteria of the procedure is the only but most effective way to maintain the neutrality.

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