Arusha, June 22, 2011(FH) -The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has called on States to nominate the most highly-qualified judicial candidates to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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"The opening last week of the nomination period of candidates for upcoming elections of Judges to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a crucial opportunity for States to nominate the most highly-qualified candidates through a fair, transparent and merit-based election process," it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ICC, established by treaty in 1998 and which entered into force in 2002, is the first permanent international court capable of trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 

Between June 13 and September 2, 2011, according to the statement, States Parties to the Rome Statute will nominate candidates to fill six judicial vacancies at the ICC.

The elections to be held in December 2011 at the tenth session of the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) represent the most significant change to the composition of the Court's bench in recent years. The ASP is the Court's governing body and is composed of 115 States that are party to the Rome Statute.

"The Coalition calls on States Parties to fully respect provisions set out in Article 36 of the Rome Statute, when nominating candidates. The Coalition also encourages nominations to be made through transparent and vigorous process, in broad consultation with civil society, professional national legal associations and others," the statement reads. 

Rome Statute establishes a framework for judicial elections, including "fixing qualifications for Judges, fostering fair and competitive elections, and ensuring all major legal systems are represented through geographic representation."

It ensures equitable gender representation and due to the current number of female judges, "State Parties will need to vote for at least two male candidates. "  In addition, the governments must elect two judges from the Latin American and Caribbean region and one from the Eastern Europe region.

"With the other ad hoc and special international tribunals finishing their mandates, in a few years the ICC could be the only international court holding individuals accountable for these terrible crimes in international law. It is therefore imperative that States nominate the most highly-qualified candidates for this crucial election," the Coalition quotes William R Pace, Convenor of the Coalition, as saying in the statement.

He added, "The only way the ICC can be recognized as pre-eminent, unbiased, independent and effective - as an international tribunal that ensures fairness in its procedures and trials - is if the Court's chambers are composed of judges who are among the most highly qualified and impartial."

According to the statement, in December 2011, ICC States Parties would also elect a new ICC Prosecutor to succeed Luis Moreno-Ocampo, whose term ends in June 2012. The formal nomination period is open from June 13 until September 2, 2011, subject to extension.

The ASP has established a Search Committee for the Prosecutor composed of States Parties' representatives, which is mandated to facilitate the nomination and election by consensus of the next Prosecutor. 


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