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Update on the ICJ's activity at the beginning of 2012

Election of the successor to Judge Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) fixed for 27 April 2012

The United Nations Security Council has fixed Friday 27 April 2012 as the date for the election, by the Security Council and the General Assembly, of a successor to Mr. Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh, former judge and Vice-President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Mr. Al-Khasawneh resigned as Member of the Court following his appointment last year as Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan by King Abdullah II. The term of office of Mr. Al-Khasawneh as a Member of the Court would have expired on 5 February 2018. The Member of the Court elected on 27 April 2012 will complete Mr. Al-Khasawneh’s term, serving until 2018. For more info see here. On 10 November 2011 Judges Hisashi Owada (Japan), Peter Tomka (Slovakia) and Xue Hanqin (China) were re-elected as Members of the Court, while Mr. Giorgio Gaja (Italy) was elected as a new Member of the Court (see here). Ms. Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) was elected as a Judge of the ICJ on 13 December 2011 (see here). The nine-year term of the Judges of the Court elected in 2011 will start running from 6 February 2012, the day when they take (or retake) office.

Judicial activity

1. Case Concerning Judgment No. 2867 of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization upon a complaint filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development

In its advisory opinion of 1 February 2012 the Court found that the decision given by the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization in its Judgment No. 2867 is valid. The request for an advisory opinion concerns the validity of the Judgment rendered by the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (hereinafter the “Tribunal”) on 3 February 2010, relating to Ms Saez García’s contract of employment. In March 2000, Ms Saez García was offered, and accepted, a two-year fixed-term contract with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to serve as a Programme Officer in the Global Mechanism, an entity hosted by IFAD. The Global Mechanism ⎯ established by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa ⎯ works to mobilize and channel financial resources to developing countries. Ms Saez García’s contract was twice extended by IFAD. By a memorandum of 15 December 2005, the Managing Director of the Global Mechanism informed her that, due to a reduction in the budget of the Global Mechanism, her post would be abolished and her contract would not be renewed. Ms Saez García requested a facilitation process, which ended with no settlement, and she then challenged the decision before the Joint Appeal’s Board of the Fund, which unanimously recommended that she be reinstated and awarded a payment of lost salaries, allowances and entitlements. On 4 April 2008 the President of the Fund rejected the recommendations. On 8 July 2008, Ms Saez García filed a complaint with the Tribunal, and, in its Judgment of 3 February 2010, the Tribunal decided that “[t]he President’s decision of 4 April 2008 is set aside” and made orders for the payment of damages and costs. In a resolution of 22 April 2010, the Executive Board of the Fund requested an advisory opinion of the Court on the validity of that judgment. For more information check the ICJ Press Release No. 2012/6 here.

2. The judgment in the case Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening) will be issued on Friday, 3 February 2012, at 10.00 am. More information on this very interesting case will follow soon afterwards.

3. The Court authorized the submission of an additional pleading by Croatia in the case Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia). For me it serves as a lesson to take with a grain of salt or two the news circulated some time ago in the media in the Balkans reporting that Croatia was going to withdraw its case (see my previous post here).

4. The Court fixed the time-limits for the filing of the initial pleadings in the case Construction of a road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica). Thus, 19 December 2012 and 19 December 2013 will be the respective time-limits for the filing of a Memorial by the Republic of Nicaragua and a Counter-Memorial by the Republic of Costa Rica. For more information see here.

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