The second elections for judges to the International Criminal Court (ICC) were held January 26th and 27th 2006, in New York. Amongst the criteria required by the Rome Statute of the ICC for the election of judges is the principle of ‘fair representation’ of women and men and specific legal expertise on violence against women.
We urged that you send this action letter or one of your own, to your Permanent Representative to the United Nations and your Foreign Minister to demand they vote for gender competence on the ICC and the election of women candidates to the Court.
What is at Stake ?
In 2003 during the first election of judges to the Court, seven women judges (of eighteen in total) were elected to the bench of the ICC. At the time, the elected Judges were allocated different terms on the Court by ballot process which meant six of the Judges (two women; four men) served a three-year term. This term has now been completed.
In the 2006 election, four women and six men were nominated for six seats on the Court. Of the candidates three were from Eastern Europe; three were from Africa; two were from Asia/Pacific; and two were from Europe.
There should be no going back on the number of women judges (7) on the ICC.
The Rome Statute requires that States Parties take certain qualities into account in the election of Judges. These are:
- The fair representation of women and men
- Equitable geographical representation
- Representation of the principal legal systems in the world (civil law; common law)
- Legal expertise on specific issues including violence against women or children.
In order for the ICC to be a mechanism for gender-inclusive justice it is important that gender competent judges are elected to the International Criminal Court. Few women judges have ever been elected to serve on international and regional judicial institutions – of the 260 judges serving on such institutions at the time, only 49 were women.
On January 24th and 25th we co-hosted along with the Coalition for the ICC, two panels for the judicial candidates. This was the only public forum for delegates and NGOs to hear from the candidates as a group before the voting began on January 26th.