International Criminal Court: Six New Judges Elected

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.[1] On December 16th, the Assembly completed this task, and the new judges will take office on March 11, 2012.[2]

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.

Judge Carmona

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.
Senator Defensor-Santiago
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.”[3]

Eboe-Osuji

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.
Judge Fremr
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.

Herrera Carbuccia

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
Judge Howard Morrison
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.


[1]  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).

[2]  ICC, Final Results:  Election of the Judges of the ICC (contains biographical material about the new judges), http://www2.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Elections/Judges/2011/Results/Final+Results.htm; AMICC, First Week of Assembly of States Parties Concludes with the Completion of the Election of Six ICC Judges, http://amicc.blogspot.conm (Dec. 16, 2011).

[3] Tordesillas, We will miss Sen. Miriam, http://www.gmanetwork.com (Dec. 15, 2011).

 

International Criminal Court: Four People Recommended for Election as ICC Prosecutor

On October 25th the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that the Search Committee for a new Prosecutor for the Court had recommended four individuals for this position.[1]

The four individuals are:

  • Fatou B. Bensonda. From Gambia, she has served as ICC Deputy Prosecutor since November 2004. Previously she held high-level positions as legal advisor and attorney for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the government of Gambia.
  • Andrew T. Cayley. From the United Kingdom, he is currently a prosecutor for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). Previously he was a senior prosecuting counsel for the ICC, defense counsel for the Special Court for Serra Leone (SCSL) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), prosecuting counsel for the ICTY and an attorney with the British Army.
  • Mohamed Chande Othman. From Tanzania, he is currently Chief Justice of Tanzania. Previously he was Justice on the country’s Court of Appeal and held high-legal positions with the U.N. Development Program for Cambodia, the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), the ICTR and the High-Level Commission of Inquiry on Lebanon.
  • Robert Petit. From Canada, he is currently Counsel to the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Sections of Canada’s Department of Justice. Previously he served in high-legal legal positions with the ECCC, SCSL, UNTAET, ICTR and the Canadian Department of Justice.

Now the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties will endeavor to nominate and elect by consensus one of these people as the new ICC Prosecutor. That will happen at the Assembly’s meeting in December 2011.


[1] ICC Press Release, Report of the Search Committee for Prosecutor (Oct. 25, 2011). See Post: International Criminal Court: Its Upcoming Prosecutor Election (June 25, 2011).

 

 

Remembering Oscar Romero at Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey, London, UK
Romero Statue, Westminster Abbey, London, UK

In 1998 Westminster Abbey in London opened its gallery of Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century. Their 10 statues are set in outside niches above the main entrance. The Abbey did so to proclaim that the 20th century was one of Christian martyrdom greater than in any previous period in the history of the church.[1]

In niche number 6 is the statue of Oscar Romero. He stands between the statues of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the great U.S. civil rights leader and preacher, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Lutheran pastor and theologian who was executed by the Nazi regime just before the end of World War II for his involvement in a plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler.[2]

The biographical essay about Romero in a book about this gallery of martyrs is by Philip Berryman, an U.S. liberation theologian and leading authority on Christianity in Central and South America.

Berryman was in El Salvador in March 1980 and heard Romero’s famous homily ordering the military to stop the repression. Immediately afterwards, Berryman said he expressed his amazement at Romero’s boldness in saying what the Salvadoran military officers must have thought was treasonous. The next day when Berryman heard that Romero had been shot, he rushed to the hospital only to find out that Romero had died. Shortly after the assassination, he reports that Ignacio Ellacuria, the Rector of the Universidad de Centro America (UCA), celebrated a mass and said that with Archbishop Romero, God had visited El Salvador.[3]

Berryman recounts the familiar story about Romero’s being conservative and soft-spoken when he was appointed Archbishop in early 1977 and being converted to social and political justice after the murder of his friend, Father Rutilio Grande. To the same point, he quotes another friend of Romero, Jesuit priest and liberation theologian at UCA, Jon Sobrino, who said that when Romero gazed “at the mortal remains of Rutilio Grande, the scales fell from his eyes. Rutilio had been right! The kind of pastoral activity, the kind of church, the kind of faith he had advocated had been the right kind after all. . . .  [I]f Rutilio had died as Jesus died, if he had shown that greatest of all love, the love required to lay down one’s very life for others–was this not because his life and mission had been like the life and mission of Jesus? . . . Ah then, it had not been Rutilio, but Oscar who had been mistaken! . . .  And Archbishop Romero , , , [made] a decision to change.” In short, Grande’s life and death gave Romero a new direction for his life and the strength to pursue it.[4]

Romero, according to Berryman, prepared his homilies in consultation with a team of priests and lay people to review the situation in the country. Then he would write the homily from his notes, the newspapers of the week and the Biblical texts and commentaries. The homilies themselves usually lasted about 45 minutes, mostly devoted to a systematic and thematic reflection on the Biblical texts for the day, but also with Romero’s observations on the human rights violations of the prior week.[5]

Berryman also comments on the strained relationship between Romero and the U.S. government. Early in 1978, for example, Romero met with Terrance Todman, the U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, who urged Romero to have a less confrontational and more constructive relationship with the Salvadoran government. Romero immediately responded that the U.S. and Rodman did not understand what was happening in El Salvador. “The problem is not between Church and government, it’s between government and people. . . . It’s not the church, much less the archbishop! If the government improved its treatment of the people, we will improve our relations with the government.”[6]

The Anglican Dean of Westminster Abbey came to El Salvador for the 20th anniversary of Romero’s assassination in 2000 and participated in a mass at the El Salvador de Mundo (the Savior of the World) traffic circle lead by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles. I cried during the service when Salvadorans passed the peace to me after all my country had done to support the Salvadoran government during their civil war.


[1] Andrew Chandler, Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century (Westminster Abbey; London 1999); Andrew Chandler (ed.), The Terrible Alternative–Christian Martyrdom in the Twentieth Century (Cassell; London 1998).

[2] Christian Martyrs of the Twentieth Century at 3, 8, 10, 13.

[3]  The Terrible Alternative at 159-60. Father Ellacuria, of course, was one of the six Jesuit priests murdered by the Salvadoran military in November 1989. (See Post: International Criminal Justice: The Salvadoran Murders of the Jesuit Priests (June 2, 2011).)

[4]  Id. at 160, 164-65; Jon Sobrino, Archbishop Romero: Memories and Reflections at 9-10 (Orbis; Maryknoll, NY 1990); Post: Oscar Romero, A Saint for All People and All Time (Oct. 5, 2011). Jon Sobrino, whom I met at UCA in April 1989, escaped being murdered with his fellow Jesuits in November 1989 because he was lecturing in Southeast Asia. (Jon Sobrino, Ignacio Ellacuria, et al., Companions of Jesus: The Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador at 4-9 (Orbis Books; Maryknoll, N.Y. 1990).)

[5]  The Terrible Alternative at 167-68.

[6]  Id. at 170.

The Founder of Modern Conservatism’s Perspective on the Current U.S. Political Turmoil

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was an Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who, after moving to England, served for many years in Britain’s House of Commons as a member of the Whig party. He is remembered for his support of the cause of the American Revolution and for his later opposition to the French Revolution. He often has been regarded as the philosophic founder of modern conservatism.[1]

In 1774 Burke was elected to Parliament for Bristol, which at the time was “England’s second city” and a great trading city. Many of his constituents were opposed to free trade with Ireland, which Burke supported. This and other issues lead to his defeat in the 1780 parliamentary election.

After his election in 1774, Burke gave what became a famous speech on the philosophy of the duties of an elected representative. He said:

  • “[I]t ought to be the happiness and glory of a representative to live in the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents. Their wishes ought to have great weight with him; their opinions high respect; their business unremitted attention. It is his duty to sacrifice his repose, his pleasure, his satisfactions, to theirs—and above all, ever, and in all cases, to prefer their interest to his own.
  • But his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure—no, nor from the law and the Constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion. . . .
  • [G]overnment and legislation are matters of reason and judgment, and not of inclination; and what sort of reason is that in which the determination precedes the discussion, in which one set of men deliberate and another decide, and where those who form the conclusion are perhaps three hundred miles distant from those who hear the arguments?
  • To deliver an opinion is the right of all men; that of constituents is a weighty and respectable opinion, which a representative ought always to rejoice to consider. But authoritative instructions, mandates issued, which the member is bound blindly and implicitly to obey, to vote, and to argue for, though contrary to the clearest convictions of his judgment and conscience—these are things utterly unknown to the laws of this land, and which arise from a fundamental mistake of the whole order and tenor of our Constitution.. . .
  • Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest—that of the whole—where not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not member of Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament. If the local constituent should have an interest, or should form an hasty opinion evidently opposite to the real good of the rest of the community, the member for that place ought to be as far as any other from any endeavour to give it effect.” [2] (Emphasis in bold added.)

Fast forward from Britain in 1774 to the U.S. in 2011. Many groups now ask or demand that candidates for public office sign pledges to adhere without exception to certain positions held by the group. I think especially today of Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform with his insistence on “no new taxes.”[3]

This is a horrible development in our political life. I am opposed to all such pledges on the grounds advanced by Burke. I am also opposed to the Norquist pledge in particular.[4]


[2] Edmund Burke, Speech To The Electors Of Bristol At The Conclusion Of The Poll (Nov. 7, 1774), http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch13s7.html.

[3]  Wikipedia, Grover Norquist, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover_Norquist; Americans for Tax Reform, http://www.atr.org/taxpayer-protection-pledge.

[4] Post: My Political Philosophy(April 4, 2011); Post: Passionate, Committed Political Leadership (July 22, 2011); Post: Disgusting U.S. Political Scene (July 23, 2011).

International Criminal Court: Basics of Its Upcoming Judicial Election

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has 18 judges, each of whom serves only one term of nine years. In December of 2011 six new judges will be elected by the Court’s governing body, the Assembly of States Parties.[1]

Aside from specified and recommended personal qualifications for these judgeships,[2] there are requirements that judges come from the current 115 States Parties, that no State may have more than one judgeship and that there be equitable geographical and gender representation on the Court. There is also a requirement that the Court have representation of the “principal legal systems of the world.”[3]

Of the six judges who will be replaced in the upcoming elections, three are female and three are male. Two are from Latin America (Brazil and Costa Rica), two from Africa (Mali and Uganda) and two from Western Europe and Other (France and the U.K.)[4]

Given the Rome Statute’s requirement for considerations of geographical and gender equity  and for certain proportions for Lists A and B judges, the upcoming elections will seek to elect up to 2 females and at least 4 males who come from the A List (at least 4) and the B List (no more than 2) from the following geographical areas:

  • Africa: 2 from 28 African States Parties (31 -3 (Botswana, Ghana and Kenya, which already are represented on the Court));
  • Latin America: 2 from 24 Latin American and Caribbean States Parties (26  – 2 (Argentina and Bolivia, which already are represented on the Court)); and
  • Western Europe & Other States Parties: 2 from 22 Western European/Other States Parties (25 – 3 (Belgium, Finland, and Germany, which already are represented on the Court)).[5]

Nominees for these six positions must come from the 115 States Parties (with no more than one nomination from each such State) during the period June 13 through September 2, 2011. Each nomination must have a statement specifying how the individual meets the personal requirements of the Rome Statute.[6]

As of June 22, 2011, there were the following four nominations:[7]

  • Judge John Bankole Thompson of Sierra Leone. He has been a Judge of the High Court of Sierra Leone and of the Trial Chamber of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He also has been a law professor in his country and in the U.S. (University of Akron School of Law, Kent State University and Eastern Kentucky University. He holds LLB, M.A. and Ph. D. degrees in law from Cambridge University.
  • Bruno Cathala of France. He has been the ICC’s Registrar and its Director of Common Services; Deputy Registrar of the ICTY; president of two regional French courts and one of its juvenile courts. He also has been Deputy Director of a French government department for judicial protection of juveniles. He hold degrees from France’s Institutes of Higher National Defense Studies and of Higher Internal Security Studies and a post-graduate pre-PhD diploma in Private Law from the School of Law, University of Paris.
  • Chile Eboe-Osujl of Nigeria. He has been an advocate in criminal cases in the courts of Nigeria and Canada and a prosecutor at the ICTR and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He has served as an advisor to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Nigerian delegation to the ICC’s Review Conference on the crime of aggression. He has taught international criminal law at the University of Ottawa. He has special experience and expertise regarding violence against women and children.
  • Gberdao Gustave Kam of Burkina Faso. He has been an ad litem judge for the ICTR and a judge in several courts in his country. He also has served in his country’s Ministry of Justice.

The more fascinating issue of the specified and recommended personal qualifications for these positions will be discussed in a future post.


[1] See Post: The International Criminal Court: Introduction (April 28, 2011); Rome Statute, Art. 36 (1), (9); ICC, Election of six judges–December 2011, http://www2.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Elections/Judges/2011/2011.htm.

[2] A future post will discuss the Rome Statute’s specified qualifications for judgeships as well as recommended qualifications proposed by civil society.

[3] Rome Statute, Art. 36 (7), (8)(a).

[4] International Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Information about the Nomination and Election of Six New Judges and the Prosecutor, New York, December 2011, http://www.coalitionfortheicc.org/documents/.

[5] Id.

[6]  Rome Statute, Art. 36 (4)

[7]  ICC, Election of six judges–December 2011, http://www2.icc-cpi.int/Menus/ASP/Elections/Judges/2011/2011.htm.

Celebrating the Rhodes Scholarships’ Centennial

In July 2003 the Rhodes Trust[1] hosted gala celebrations of the centennial of the Rhodes Scholarships. My wife and I were privileged to be there.

Westminster Hall

Westminster Hall
Palace of Westminster

The main event was held in London’s Westminster Hall, which is part of the Palace of Westminster. Other parts of the Palace are the Chambers for the House of Commons and the House of Lords. When it was built in 1097, the Hall at 240 feet by 68 feet was the largest hall in Europe; in the reign of King Richard II it obtained a clear-span wood-beam roof. Here were held the trials of King Charles I, Sir William Wallace, Sir Thomas More, Guy Fawkes and the Earl of Strafford, all of whom were condemned to death. The Rhodes event in 2003 was the first (and, I think, still the only) time it had ever been used for a non-state occasion.[2]

As we were standing in a queue to go through security to enter the Hall, a BBC reporter quizzed me about the significance of the relatively few Rhodes Scholars who were in the George W. Bush Administration. I, however, declined to see any significance to that fact other than to note that Scholars usually were interested in trying to improve people’s lives through government programs.

The audience of over 1,000 Rhodes Scholars and their spouses were treated to interesting speeches from Lord Waldegrave, the Chairman of the Rhodes Trustees;[3] “Nicky” Oppenheimer, the Chairman of DeBeers, the diamond mining company started by Cecil Rhodes in South Africa in the 19th century;[4] Bill Clinton, the former U.S. President; Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister of the U.K.; and Nelson Mandela, the former President of South Africa.[5]

Lord Waldegrave commented on the recent creation of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, a joint venture of the Rhodes Trustees and the Nelson Mandela Foundation to support aid and education in South Africa. An overarching theme of the centennial was the closing of the circle by joining together the controversial 19th century white entrepreneur (Rhodes) and the 20th century post-apartheid black South African leader (Mandela).[6]

Oppenheimer drew chuckles from the audience when he said that he was confident that the Founder (Cecil Rhodes), looking down from above, or perhaps looking up from below, would be proud of the accomplishments of his Scholars.

Tony Blair & Bill Clinton

Clinton joked that it was a sign of progress that all of the politicians that day felt safe in the Hall where King Charles I and Sir Thomas More had been tried and condemned to death. He and the other Scholars, he said, had been “enriched, enlarged and changed” by their time at the University of Oxford, and many of them had made “great contributions across the globe in public service, the arts, the sciences, business, the military, religion and other fields.” Clinton also applauded the new Mandela Rhodes Foundation to “bring some of Rhodes’ wealth back to its origins to help build a new South Africa.”[7]

Blair, putting his glasses into his breast pocket, said that President Mandela had just told him that he never reads a speech so Blair reciprocated by saying he would not read the speech that the Foreign Office had written for him. Blair recalled that when he was a student at Oxford, an Australian or New Zealand Rhodes Scholar had encouraged Blair to go into politics. Blair said that Mandela “is a person who, probably more than any other political figure, certainly in my lifetime, establishes the triumph of hope over injustice.” Blair also challenged the international community to do more to tackle the scourge of HIV and AIDS in Africa and the developed world to lift tariffs to help African exports.

Nelson Mandela

Mandela gave the concluding speech. He noted that Rhodes had made his fortune in South Africa and imagined that he would endorse the “decision to develop human capacity in modern-day South Africa, enabling that country to continue being a competitive presence in the world as it was in those fields within which he operated during his times.” Indeed, Mandela said, he was “certain, Cecil John Rhodes and I would have made common cause.”[8]

When all the speeches were finished, everyone on the speakers’ stage walked the over 200-feet length of the hall through the audience. Mandela, then nearly 85 years old, was frail, and to help him make the long walk, his right arm was held by Tony Blair; his left, by Bill Clinton. They brought tears to our eyes as they passed six feet from us on their journey through the Hall.

National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery, London

My wife and I then joined many others walking down Whitehall to the National Portrait Gallery on Trafalgar Square. In the Gallery’s Tudor Rooms Rhodes Scholars from the early 1960’s gathered for conversation, drinks and music from a string quartet.

Other groups of Scholars met in other parts of the Gallery and in the Banqueting Hall on Whitehall.

Dinner at Worcester College

We then went by train to Oxford, where each college held special black-tie dinners honoring their Rhodes Scholars.

Worcester College put out all the college silver and crystal for its Rhodes Scholar dinner. Everyone had an assigned place for the main courses and a different place for dessert. For the main course I was seated across the table from Julian Ogilvie Thompson, a South African Rhodes Scholar who was a director and former executive of DeBeers and the Anglo American gold and diamond mining company.[9]

After dinner I talked with David Kendall, who was at Worcester, 1966-68, and who in 1993 began legal representation of President and Mrs. Clinton in various matters, including the 1998-99 impeachment proceedings against Mr. Clinton.[10] David and I had met in the Spring of 1966, just after he had been elected as a Rhodes Scholar from Indiana’s Wabash College. Illinois Governor Otto Kerner had studied at Cambridge University and that Spring hosted a Cambridge-Oxford Boat Race Dinner at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield. I joined a group that bused to Springfield from Chicago for the dinner, and David was a special guest on the bus and at the dinner.

Conclusion

These spectacular events reminded me of how fortunate I was to have been selected as a Rhodes Scholar and to have had the amazing experience of an Oxford education. Thank you, Cecil Rhodes.


[2] Wikipedia, Palace of Westminster, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Westminster.

[3] Wikipedia, William Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Waldegrave,_Baron_Waldegrave_of_North_Hill.

[4]  Wikipedia, Nicky Oppenheimer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicky_Oppenheimer; Wikipedia, DeBeers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Beers.

[5] Russell, Mandela celebrates 100 years of Rhodes, (July 3, 2003), http://www.independent.co.uk; Johnson, Mandela, Clinton Celebrate with new Rhodes-Mandela Foundation (July 6, 2003), http://africanamerica.org.

[6] Earlier the Rhodes Trust had held centenary celebrations in South Africa.

[7] Bill Clinton, Speech: Rhodes Trust Centenary Celebration (July 2, 2003), http://www.clintonfoundation.org. I previously noted Clinton’s acknowledging his family’s embarrassment that he had not earned an Oxford degree in his two years at Oxford while congratulating his daughter Chelsea’s Oxford degree that summer. (See Post: Reading PPE at Oxford (June 6, 2011).

[8] Nelson Mandela, The Patron’s Founding Speech (July 2, 2003), http://db.nelsonmandela.org/speeches/pub_view.asp?pg=item&ItemID=NMS1073&txtstr=westminster.

[10]  David Kendall Biography, http://www.wc.com/dkendall

PPE Examinations at Oxford

As indicated in my discussion of “reading” PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) at Oxford,[1] the examinations were given at the end of a student’s time at the University. For me, that was early June 1963.

Examination Schools Building

For the examinations, University statutes required the students to wear sub-fusc (Latin: dark/dusky color) clothing. For men, this meant dark suit and socks; black shoes; white shirt and collar; white bow tie; and academic gown and cap. Riding my bicycle to the exams with all of this regalia made me feel special, for most of the people you passed knew from your garb that you were “taking Schools.” The examinations were given in a late 19th century University building called The Examination Schools on High Street in the city. Thus, the exams colloquially were called “Schools.”

The examinations were prepared, and evaluated, by a university-wide committee, and if one of your tutors happened to be on the committee, he or she was barred from grading your answers.

For PPE there were eight three-hour exams given over two weeks. Six of them were in the required subjects. The other two exams were in the student’s optional papers.

Each of the examinations had the same format. You had to answer four questions on a printed sheet of 13 to 16 questions. At the time, I thought they were the fairest exams I had ever encountered because they eliminated the chance that even though you knew the subject and had engaged in diligent preparation, you would be hit with a question for which you were not prepared. As I look back on the experience 48 years later, I could see how this format could be nerve-racking and force a student into wasting a lot of time figuring out which four questions to answer. This, however, was not my plight. I believe that I quickly read the complete list of questions and first picked the question for which I was most prepared and answered that one. Then I looked at the remaining questions and picked another question for which I was prepared and answered that one until I had answered four questions. As I reflect now on that experience, I can see a tactical problem of pacing yourself so that you did not spend too much time answering the questions for which you were best prepared.

Here is a sample of the 32 questions that I answered on the PPE examinations in June of 1963:

  • General Philosophy (from Descartes to the present): “Is there anything wrong with Hume’s definition of cause?”
  • Moral and Political Philosophy: “Is a retributive theory of punishment the only safeguard against condoning the punishment of the innocent?”
  • Theory and Working of Political Institutions: “Has the British Parliament anything to learn from the U.S. Congress?”
  • British Political and Constitutional History Since 1830: “Why was the second Parliament Act so much like the first?”
  • Principles of Economics: “‘Monetary and fiscal policies should always work in the same direction.’ Should they?”
  • Economic Organization: “How would you judge whether there is a world liquidity shortage?”
  • Public Finance: “Compare the merits of an annual capital tax and an expenditure tax.”
  • Currency and Credit: “‘Debt management is monetary policy.’ Discuss.”

(I do not remember what my answers were and could not intelligently answer these or the other 24 questions today.)

After I had finished the written exams, I told my philosophy tutor what I had done. On the Political Institutions paper, I said I had written about the U.S. and the U.K. In response, the tutor said, “Krohnke, you should expect to be called back for a ‘viva‘ [viva voce or oral examination] to establish ‘spread’ or breadth. So get out the Political Institutions examination paper and develop an answer about France or the Soviet Union.”

This was an example of how your tutors were also your coaches. That relationship was celebrated when Worcester College’s PPE tutors gave a dinner for their students who were “taking Schools” that term in one of the College’s senior common rooms.

In any event, I did as my tutor suggested and prepared an answer about France or the Soviet Union for the Political Institutions examination. It was time well spent for indeed I was called back for a viva by the full examination committee of six or so dons. It took place in a large room in the Examination Schools building. The dons were wearing full academic gear (robes, caps, etc.), and again I was in sub-fusc clothing. The chair of the committee said, “Mr. Krohnke, please tell us something about France or the Soviet Union.” I said something like, “Question No. 4” and then delivered my memorized answer. The committee chair then said, “Thank you very much,” and I left the room.

Sometime in July the examination results were posted on the University bulletin boards and published in The Times of London. I was greatly surprised and pleased to discover that I had obtained a First, which was awarded to the top 7.5 % of the 240 taking the exams.

Sheldonian Theater

All that was left was to obtain the B.A. degree in a ceremony in the Christopher Wren-designed Sheldonian Theater. The entire degree ceremony was conducted in Latin by the Classics (Greek and Latin) don from my college, who held the University position of Public Orator. Although I did not understand what he was saying, it was difficult to keep a straight face because the university newspaper that term had referred to him as “the Pubic Orator.”


[1] Post: Reading PPE at Oxford (June 6, 2011).