Monday, August 22, 2005

ICJ Campaign Season (cont'd): The Candidates Step Forward

The UN has released more information on the eight candidates for the 5 opening slots on the ICJ here.

Amor, Abdelfattah (Tunisia)
Bennouna, Mohamed (Morocco)
Buergenthal, Thomas (United States of America)
González Campos, Julio D. (Spain)
Keith, Kenneth (New Zealand)
Mazou, Seidou Adamou (Niger)
Sepúlveda Amor, Bernardo (Mexico)
Skotnikov, Leonid (Russian Federation)

Here is a useful horse-race analysis from a knowledgeable source who works for a government agency:

There are eight nominees for the five seats. By tradition, two of these five seats will go to the United States and Russia. That leaves six nominees for three seats, all of them "open," as none of the incumbents of these seats is seeking another term. But these seats are, again by tradition, allocated by region -- one to Latin America and the Caribbean, one to Africa, and a third to the WEOG. There is only one candidate (from Mexico) for the Latin American seat, so presumably that person will be elected. There are three candidates for the African seat, but of these three, one is the clear favorite (the Moroccan) and presumably he will be elected. And there are two candidates for the WEOG seat -- Sir Kenneth Keith of New Zealand and Julio Gonzalez Campos of Spain. The WEOG seat is clearly the only truly contested seat at this election, and it is, therefore, no wonder that New Zealand is expending such effort on behalf of its candidate.

There are a couple of other interesting aspects to the document. One is that Russia has decided to replace Judge Vereshchetin with Leonid Skotnikov, the current Russian Permrep to the UN Office in Geneva and former Russian Foreign Ministry legal adviser. Another is that Judge Buergenthal received a significant number of nominations from national groups, which must be seen as a personal endorsement for him.

One side note (from Ku again): It looks like Judge Buergenthal will be the U.S. nominee again. He was not my choice (my old prof Prof. Michael Reisman should have been the U.S. judge), but I have nothing against him, and it looks like he is popular outside the U.S. as well (no doubt it helps that he is happy to vote against the U.S. in cases like Avena). But I actually think the U.S. position should be rotated more often, to get some fresh blood on the Court. Maybe someone from outside the cozy international law world? Eric Posner for ICJ, anyone?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Far more impressive US picks might have been:

Jack Goldsmith
John Yoo
John Bolton(!)
Eric Posner
William Taft IV
Robert Bork or, if that fails, Anthony Kennedy

8/22/2005 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Yuval Rubinstein said...

Why not Eric Posner? I mean, we've already got Bolton at the UN. And going back to the Reagan administration, we had Central American death squad apologist Elliot Abrams as the--get this--Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights.

Freedom is on the march, so they say.

8/22/2005 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Fernando Teson said...

Here they go again. Is everything ideological here? Or are people willing to discuss merit? Eric Posner would be a fabulous candidate for the ICJ, as would Mike Reisman. I liked very much Buergenthal's magnificent declaration in the infamous "Wall" advisory opinion.
By the way, I support Bolton for the UN. Someone has to have the courage to tell that corrupt body to get its act together.

8/23/2005 9:07 AM  
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