The Hague, 29 February 2008 (FH) - The judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Friday elected Italian Silvana Arbia, 54, as Registrar for five-year-term during their plenary assembly from 25 to 29 February in Hague ,The Netherlands, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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Arbia, chief of prosecutions of the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was part of ten candidates for the post.

The judges, on the other hand, have deferred the election of the assistant Registrar of the Court until further notice.

Among candidates for the post included the current Registrar of the International Criminal ICTR, Senegalese Adama Dieng, and the Deputy Registrar of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Australian John Hocking.

It was immediately not known when Arbia will take up her new assignment. The current registrar, French magistrate Bruno Cathala, will leave his functions on 9 April, a few months before the effective end of his mandate, planned for June.

Cathala set up the International Criminal Court in autumn of 2002, after having left ICTY where he had notably set up the creation of an association of defence counsels.

Recipient of a Master's degree in law, acquired in 1976 from the University of Padua, in Italy, Arbia practiced as a lawyer then as a magistrate in various courts.

She initially was a prosecutor and judge in Venice, then in Rome and Milan. There, she chaired the first criminal chamber of the Court of Appeal and in particular dealt with cases of organized crime (Mafia) and
sexual assault.

Before joining the ICTR, she had been for several months a judge at the Supreme Court and the Final Court of Appeal of Italy.

Member of the Italian delegation during the diplomatic negotiations of 1998, bearing on the drafting of the Treaty of Rome, the founding authority of the permanent court.

The Italian magistrate had joined the ICTR as first substitute to the prosecutor on 14 May 1999, and directed the prosecution in various trials, including the largest and longest trial known as "Butare".

She was promoted to the position of chief of prosecution in June 2007 by Prosecutor to replace American Stephen Rapp, who joined the Sierra Leone Tribunal as Prosecutor.

© Agence Hirondelle