Subject: [fem-women2000 783] Women's GlobalNet #193: Call for Gender Parity Amongst ICC Judges!
From: iwtc <>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 22:52:59 +0000
Seq: 783

Initiatives and Activities of Women Worldwide
By Anne S. Walker 

April 16 2002


The Ninth Session of the Preparatory Commission of the International 
Criminal Court is under way through the end of this week, 19 April 2002. 
A critical component of the gender mainstreaming begun in the Rome 
Statute is at stake in these negotiations. 

Government delegates at this Prepcom are in the process of negotiating 
rules of procedure for the nomination and election of judges, prosecutor 
and deputy prosecutors. Though the ICC will not be a part of the United 
Nations, we know from experience of monitoring elections for similar 
posts in the UN system that the need for fair representation of women 
and men is not taken seriously in the elections, which are also often 
highly suspect in terms of the vote-trading that accompanies these 
elections. As a result, the presence of women in the international posts 
has been appallingly low. 

Some examples: Only one woman has ever served as a judge on the 
International Court of Justice throughout its more than 80-year history.

The 34-member International Law Commission had no women throughout its 
55-year history until late last year at which time two women were 

In the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda,
there have been at most 3 women serving at any one time among the 14 
permanent judges. 

The ICC will be the first major international institution of the 21st
century - indeed of this millennium - developed via multilateral treaty. 
The shapers of this historic institution must continue to take bold 
strides in ensuring that women, who make up half the world's population, 
are finally guaranteed an equitable presence in such institutions. It is 
no longer acceptable to abide the reluctance of states to nominate women 
or to blame the lack of appropriate female representation on the myth 
that there is a lack of qualified women. In the same way that the ICC, 
as an independent and  impartial mechanism, is intended to be a fairer 
and more democratic judicial institution as a counter to the abusive 
rule of raw power in the world, so it must also counter the effects of 
power disparities between women and men through its procedures and 
practices. This, along with appropriate geographical representation, is 
critical to ensuring
the Court's legitimacy among the peoples of the world - which, though it 
seems obvious, includes women.

In the ICC context, the Women's Caucus is advocating that "fair
representation" be understood as parity of women and men, meaning a 
margin of 45-55 percent either way. We are also arguing that there is an 
obligation to develop mechanisms in the election process that ensure 
parity in the outcome of the elections. Additional points are contained 
in the alert letter below. While a parity of women and men on the Court 
is an overarching principle and a critical part of a full-fledged 
commitment to non-discrimination on the  basis of gender, the Statute 
also mandates the presence of judges, male or female, with legal 
expertise on specific issues including violence against women and 

This moment presents an opportunity to break from the old patterns that 
have prevented women from participating on an equal footing in our 
international institutions. Please take the time to forward these 
concerns to your relevant officials and parliamentarians. At the same 
time, we urge those of you in countries that have ratified the ICC to 
contact your foreign ministries to find out whether and how the 
nomination process will proceed and also whether candidates have already 
been identified and demand that women candidates be considered and put 
forward. It is expected that the first meeting of the Assembly of States 
Parties will be held in September 2002 at which time the nomination 
process will open. It will then likely close some time in late October 
and then the first elections of the full panel of 18 judges will be held 
in January 2003.


Re: ICC Election Procedures  

Dear Madame/Sir,

We are writing to express our serious concerns regarding the
negotiations at the Ninth Session of the Preparatory Commission for the 
International Criminal Court relating to the elections of judges, 
prosecutor and deputy prosecutors. As you know, last Thursday, the Rome 
Statute obtained the required number of ratifications for entry into 
force on 1 July 2002 - a moment we are very much hoping will signal an 
end to impunity for crimes committed predominately against women which 
have long been overlooked by the international justice mechanisms of the 

We are very concerned, however, that immediately in the wake of this 
historic occasion, there seems to be little real commitment at this 
session to carry forward the gender mainstreaming  mandates of the Rome 
Statute when it comes  to the elections of judges and other posts. The 
ICC will be the first international institution of the 21st century, 
indeed of the new  millennium, established by multi-lateral treaty and 
is the first of its kind. It is time, finally, that women be accorded a 
presence in such institutions on an equitable footing. You have a 
historic opportunity to ensure that the ICC is standard-setting with 
respect to a presence of women on the Court. Doing so will only increase 
its esteem and prestige in the world.

In light of this, we demand the following:

1.  That "fair representation of female and male" in article 36(8)(a) of 
the Rome Statute be explicitly recognized as parity of women and men. In 
the context of the ICC this would amount to at least 8 men or women on 
the Court. This is not a quota - it is what is fair given that women 
make up half the world's population. It amounts to a margin of 45-55 
percent either way. Anything less than this would replicate the systemic 
discrimination on the basis of gender in this new institution; 

2.  That a mechanism be developed and included in the rules of
procedures relating to elections that will ensure this fair
representation in the outcome of the elections; 

3.  That the election procedures be fully transparent and provide ample 
opportunity for a thorough review of candidate's qualifications and 

4.  That an advisory committee be established in accordance with article 
36(4)(c) which would be comprised of experts and members of civil 
society so as to avoid on the possibility or appearance of bias on the 
part of delegates representing their countries in the Assembly of States 

5.  That the advisory committee be authorized to extend the nomination 
period in the event the pool of candidates does not reflect the balances 
required by the Statute and rules; 

6.  That the advisory committee also be authorized to nullify the
nomination round and open a new one in the event that the balances 
required by the Statute and rules are not met and an extension would not 
facilitate such a balance; 

7.  That the election procedures also ensure a presence of judges on the 
Court, whether female or male, with legal expertise on violence against 
women and violence against children, pursuant to article 36(8)(b) of the 
Rome Statute.

We expect that our delegation to the Preparatory Commission will 
actively participate in the resolution of these matters toward a
satisfactory and non-discriminatory outcome in furtherance of the aims 
of the Rome Statute.



For a listing of contact information for UN Missions, see

Please forward a copy of your letters also to the Women's Caucus for 
Gender Justice.

For more information, including criteria and a short guide to the 
nomination and election process for Judges to the International Criminal 
Court, please contact: 

Women's Caucus for Gender Justice
P.O. Box 3541 Grand Central P.O.
New York, New York 10163, USA
tel. +1 (718) 626-2681 / fax +1(718)626-3528

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