On March 9th, five new judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) were sworn in at a ceremony held at the seat of the Court in The Hague. The are Judges Howard Morrison (United Kingdom), Anthony T. Carmona (Trinidad and Tobago), Olga Herrera Carbuccia (Dominican Republic), Robert Fremr (Czech Republic) and Chile Eboe-Osuji (Nigeria).
The other judge who was elected at the December 2011 meeting of the Court’s Assembly of States Parties, Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Republic of the Philippines), was unavailable due to personal circumstances and will be sworn in later.
The ICC has a bench of 18 judges who are nationals of States Parties to the Court’s Rome Statute. Judges are chosen from among persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices. The election of the judges takes into account the need for the representation of the principle legal systems of the world, a fair representation of men and women, and equitable geographical distribution.
At its current meeting in New York City, the ICC’s governing body, the Assembly of States Parties, was charged with electing six new judges for the Court. On December 16th, the Assembly completed this task, and the new judges will take office on March 11, 2012.
All six possess the basic Rome Statute qualifications for these important positions: high moral character; impartiality; integrity; the qualifications required by their States for appointment to their highest judicial offices; and excellent knowledge of the Court’s two “working languages” (English and French) and fluency in at least one of these languages.
In addition, they have established competency in either (a) “criminal law and procedure, and the necessary relevant experience, whether as judge, prosecutor, advocate or in similar capacity, in criminal proceedings” or (b) “relevant areas of international law such as international humanitarian law and the law of human rights, and extensive experience in a professional legal capacity which is of relevance to the judicial work of the Court.”
All were on the list of qualified candidates for the judgeships that was produced by the Independent Panel on ICC Judicial Elections that evaluated the 19 candidates advanced by States Parties. The six new judges range in age from 49 to 66 and are reported to be in good health and thus presumptively able to serve the full nine-year term of office.
As shown below, the new judges bring a wealth of experience in domestic and international criminal law, prior judicial and advocate experience in criminal trials plus academic writing in the fields of criminal law, humanitarian law (or the law of war) and human rights. They also have distinguished educational records.
Anthony Thomas Aquinas CARMONA from Trinidad and Tobago. At 58 years of age, he has degrees from the University of the West Indies and the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School. He has considerable experience, training and demonstrated competence in criminal law and criminal procedure both at the national and international levels for over 25 years.
He currently is a judge of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago.
He has served as Appeals Counsel (Office of the Prosecutor) at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Judge Carmona also served at the highest level of the criminal prosecution service of Trinidad and Tobago rising to the position of Acting Director of Public Prosecutions. At this level, he prosecuted major and complex criminal cases which sometimes involved appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
He was a representative of Trinidad and Tobago at the Preparatory Committee on the establishment of the ICC.As a judge of the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago and a former prosecutor, Judge Carmona presided over or prosecuted cases involving violence against women and children.
Miriam DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO of the Philippines. At age 66, she holds degrees from the University of the Philippines and the University of Michigan (LLM and LLD) and has authored books and articles on Philippine and international law. She will be the first Asian from a developing country on the Court. She has had a distinguished career in the Philippines:
Defensor-Santiago currently is a Senator, having been elected in 2010 for a third term; she also served as Senator from 1995 to 2001 and 2004 to 2010. She was the Chairperson of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, 2004-2010.
She also stood for election as President in 1992 and received the second highest number of votes.
She was Professional Lecturer on constitutional and international law, College of Law, University of Philippines, 1976-1988.
She was a legal officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 1979-1980.
She served as Presiding Judge of a Regional Trial Court, 1983-1987.
She was head of the Commission on Immigration and Deportation, 1988-1989.
She was appointed Secretary (Minister) of Agrarian Reform in 1989.
She is well known in her home country for making colorful statements. For example, when she was asked if she had received death threats at the Commission on Immigration and Deportation, she said, “I eat death threats for breakfast. Death is only a state of thermodynamic equilibrium.”
Chile EBOE-OSUJI of Nigeria. At age 49, he holds degrees from the University of Calabar (Nigeria), McGill University in Canada (LLB and LLM) and the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands (PhD in international criminal law). Mr. Eboe-Osuji has competence in substantive and procedural criminal law based on 25 years of experience and familiarity with professional advocacy in courtrooms:
He has worked in senior legal advisory capacities to the U.N. High Commissioner of Human Rights and has rendered legal advisory services to the Government of Nigeria and foreign governments, on questions of international law.
He has practiced criminal law in the courts of Nigeria and Canada.
He has litigated cases before the ICTR as senior prosecution trial counsel, the Special Court for Sierra Leone as senior prosecution appeals counsel and the European Court of Human Rights. Prior to these engagements, he was prosecution counsel in several cases at the ICTR.
He also has extensive experience, in a senior legal advisory capacity behind the scenes, assisting ICTR trial and appellate judges in the drafting of many judgments and decisions.
His specific areas of competence include international criminal law (especially genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes); international humanitarian law; international human rights law; public international law; Nigerian and Canadian criminal law, and criminal law in the common law world. He also has expertise relating to the crime of aggression, by virtue of his research and legal advisory assistance to the Delegation of Nigeria to the ICC Assembly of States Parties Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression.
Robert FREMR of the Czech Republic. He is 54 years old and holds degrees from Charles University Law School in Prague. He has nearly 25 years of experience in criminal law and procedure as a judge in all four tiers of the Czech judicial system plus judicial experience at the ICTR. In these positions, he has gained considerable expertise in managing complicated and time-intensive cases as well as in working with women and child victims of violent crime who require special treatment in court. Here are the specifics:
Judge ad litem, ICTR, 2010-2011
Judge of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, 2009-10.
Judge ad litem, ICTR, 2006-2008
Judge of the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic, 2004-2005
Judge of the High Court in Prague (Penal Section), 1989-2003
Judge of the Court of Appeal in Prague (Penal Section), 1986-1989
Judge of the District Court Prague 4, 1983-1986
Judicial practitioner, Municipal Court, Prague, 1981-1983
Judge Fremr also has lectured on criminal law at the Faculty of Law of Charles University in Prague and taught human rights courses to judges and trainee judges at the Judicial Academy of the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic.
Judge Fremr has attended many important international conferences (e.g. the ninth session of the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute, official meetings within the Council of Europe, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Olga Venecia HERRERA CARBUCCIA of the Dominican Republic (DR). She holds degrees from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo in the DR and is 55 years old. She has practical experience in the field of criminal law, human rights protection, children’s rights, and combating money laundering and financing terrorism. She has extensive legal teaching experience in her home country. Herrera Carbuccia has extensive judicial experience in her home country:
Judge President of the Criminal Chamber of a Court of Appeals , 2003-present
Presiding Judge of the First Criminal Chamber of a Court of Appeals, 2001-2003
First Deputy Judge President of the Criminal Chamber of a Court of Appeals, 1997-2003
Substitute Second Judge President of the Criminal Chamber of a Court of Appeals, 1991-1997
Judge President of the Eighth Penal Chamber of a Court of First Instance, 1986-1991
Assistant Attorney to the National District Prosecutor, 1984-1986
Fiscal of two DR Peace Courts, 1981-1984
Howard MORRISON of the United Kingdom. He holds a degree from London University and is 62 years old. Here are some of the highlights of his legal career:
Judge of ICTY, 2009-present
Judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, 2009
Senior Judge of the Sovereign Base Areas of Cyprus, 2008.
Circuit Judge, criminal and civil, 2004
Defense counsel , ICTY and ICTR, 1998-2004
Recorder in crime, civil and family jurisdictions, 1998
Assistant Recorder in crime, civil and family jurisdictions, 1993
Ad hoc Attorney-General for Anguilla, 1988-1989
Resident Magistrate and Chief Magistrate of Fiji and concurrently Senior Magistrate of Tuvalu, 1986-1988
Practicing barrister in U.K., primarily criminal law and equally divided between prosecution and defense, 1977-1985 and 1989-2004.
We the peoples of the world should give thanks to these six qualified people for their willingness to undertake the important and challenging work of a Judge of the ICC.
 See Post: International Criminal Court: Basics of Its Upcoming Judicial Election (June 23, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: Specified and Recommended Qualifications for ICC Judges (June 24, 2011); Post: International Criminal Court: New States Parties, Judges and Prosecutor (Nov. 22, 2011).