18 April 2006

General Assembly Confirms Extension of Judge on Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia

Also Decides to Include in Current Agenda Sub-Items on Elections for Human Rights Council, Peacebuilding Commission Organizational Committee

NEW YORK, 13 April (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly today confirmed the extension of the term of office of a short-term judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, allowing him to finish the case he had begun before the expiry of his term of office this month.

Acting on the request by the Secretary-General, the Assembly agreed -- as the Security Council did on 10 April (see Press Release SC/8686 ) -- that Judge Joaquin Canivell could continue to sit in the Krajišnik case, to which he was appointed as an ad litem judge on 1 May 2003, beyond April 2006, notwithstanding the fact that the cumulative period of his service in the Tribunal would then exceed three years.  [The Council's resolution 1668 (2006) was transmitted to the President of the Assembly in document A/60/746.]

As noted in the Secretary-General's identical letters to the Presidents of the Assembly and the Council dated 27 March (document A/60/741-S/2006/199), Judge Canivell's term of office had come to an end on 11 June 2005, and he was not re-elected as an ad litem judge.  However, the Council, by its resolution 1581 (2005) of 18 January 2005, and the Assembly, by its decision 59/406 B of 20 January 2005, decided that Judge Canivell should finish the Krajišnik case, which was to be concluded by the end of April 2006.  The President of the Tribunal has informed the Secretary-General that the case is now expected to be completed only by August or September 2006.

The pool of ad hoc, or ad litem, judges was created in June 2001 in an effort to speed up the work of the Tribunal, which was set up in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1993, to prosecute those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the wars that saw the break-up of what was then known as the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

In other business, following the creation of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council in implementation of the Outcome of the 2005 World Summit, the Assembly decided to include in the agenda of its current session two additional sub-items "of an important and urgent character" -- one on the election of 47 members of the Human Rights Council, and the other on the election of seven members of the Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission.

By the terms of resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 on the Human Rights Council, that body shall consist of 47 Member States, to be elected directly and individually, by secret ballot, by the majority of the members of the General Assembly.  The election of the first members of the Council is scheduled for 9 May 2006.

The decision on the seven additional members of the standing Organizational Committee of the Peacebuilding Commission was taken in resolution 60/180 of 20 December 2005.

The date of the Assembly's next meeting will be announced.

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