On Thursday the United Nations General Assembly (GA) elected the individuals who will serve in the International Law Commission (ILC) for the five year term beginning in 2017. The Commission, which is a subsidiary organ of the GA, has a mandate to assist in the codification and progressive development of international law. It is composed of 34 members who serve in their individual capacities. The outcome of the elections held on Thursday can be viewed here. A number of excellent academic international lawyers were elected to the Commission for the first time, most notably August Reinisch (Austria), Charles Jalloh (Sierra Leone) and Claudio Grossman (Chile) who all have impressive academic credentials as well significant practical experience of international law. The Commission will benefit from their addition. However, as is often the case with UN elections, there are some surprises in the result, with some excellent academic international lawyers also failing to be elected to the Commission, particularly Mathias Forteau (France), Chester Brown (Australia) , Tiya Maluwa (Malawi), and Marcelo Kohen (Argentina) – all of whom also have impressive academic credentials and significant practical experience of international law.
There is a very marginal improvement in the position of women on the ILC. There will be
three four women on the ILC, with Patrica Galvão Teles (Portugal), Marja Lehto (Finland), and Nilüfer Oral (Turkey) joining Concepción Escobar Hernández (Spain) who was re-elected. It is very worrying that in the history of the Commission, only 6 7 women have been members and this is the first time that 3 more than 2 women will be serving together. Still, even on the new Commission, fewer only slightly more than 10% of its members will be women. (Update: corrections in italics because of the comments below)
One other remarkable feature of the elections just concluded was that two of those nominated for the ILC in this round were previously judges on international tribunals. Koffi Afande (Togo) was, until June, a Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and Manuel Ventura Robles (Costa Rica) was until last year a judge at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Both failed to be elected.
The close links between the ILC and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has been the subject of academic commentary, particularly with regard to the use by the ICJ of the ILC’s work. In a comment to a previous post, Kriangsak Kittichaisaree who is an outgoing member of the ILC (and who did not stand for reelection) noted that 36 members of the ILC went on to be elected as members of the ICJ. In that previous post, I noted that about half of the current members of the ICJ were previously on the ILC. So the ILC has been a good staging post for subsequent election to an international judicial position.
However, I wonder how common it is for the opposite path to be followed, i.e to go from being a judge at an international tribunal to membership of the ILC. Many have served on the ILC either concurrently with or after serving on bodies with quasi-judicial functions like the treaty bodies established by human rights treaties.
These points lead me to 2 trivia questions:
Apart from the women mentioned above, which other women have been members of the International Law Commission?
Have there been any members of the ILC who were judges on international tribunals while they were members of the ILC, or prior to election to the ILC?
Answers in the comments box please!
Update: In the original post I said 5 women had been elected to the ILC, but I think there have been
67. I would like to express my sincere and deep apology to Professor Oral for omitting her from my account of those elected in the first place.