On November 9th, 2023, the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and GQUAL hosted their second webinar in the series titled “Gender Parity in International Representation.” This installment focused on the “Nomination and Selection Processes of International Tribunals and Monitoring Bodies,” specifically examining international courts and bodies, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the United Nations Special Procedures.
Before introducing the first speaker, Alejandra Vicente, a member of the GQUAL campaign secretariat, provided insights into common factors influencing the election of judges to international courts and UN treaty bodies.
“Candidates need to be selected by the respective state party to which they are nationals or reside in,” she explained. “Voting takes place at the assembly of state parties of the respective treaty.”
Vicente underscored obstacles impeding women's access to key positions at both national and international levels. She emphasized the importance of transparent nomination processes at the national level, suggesting that improved networking dynamics could benefit women. Additionally, a more transparent approach would enhance equal access to diverse candidates, and increased information on available vacancies could create more opportunities for women.
Following this, the first panelist, Her Excellency Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, Botswana's High Commissioner to the Republic of South Africa and the current chairperson of the Advisory Committee on nominating ICC judges, presented on the selection process at the International Criminal Court and shared her personal experiences.
Judge Monageng discussed the selection process, which involves individual state parties and is informed by the Rome Statute.
“Article Eight of the Rome Statute outlines the requirements for eligible candidates,” she explained. “Qualifications of candidate judges, as per paragraph 3A, include individuals of high moral character, impartiality, and integrity, possessing the qualifications required in their respective states for appointment to the highest judicial offices.”
Judge Monageng detailed list A, requiring candidates to have competence in criminal law and procedure and relevant experience as a judge or prosecutor. List B specified competence in relevant areas of international law. She also highlighted paragraph eight, which mandates geographical and gender representation among judges.
In conclusion, she advised aspiring women to acknowledge challenges and prepare thoroughly for leadership roles. “I advise female candidates to be well-prepared and understand the competitive nature of the field,” she emphasized.
The second speaker, Elizabeth Salmón, a professor of international law at the Law School of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, focused on the selection of UN special mandates within the Human Rights Council. She highlighted challenges at both national and international levels and suggested adopting gender-sensitive guidelines, engaging non-state actors, and enhancing collaboration for gender parity.
During the Q&A session, Alejandra Vicente mentioned that there are no age limits for UN and ICC positions, except in the European Court of Human Rights. Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng added that although the ICC has no age limit, candidates should consider the lengthy nine-year term outlined in the Rome Statutes. Language requirements were discussed, with Judge Monageng emphasizing English and French as the ICC's working languages, stressing the importance of a strong command of both. Prof. Salmón noted the practical necessity of proficiency in English and French within the UN's six official languages.
Regarding building allies, Judge Monageng highlighted the crucial support of one's state, while Vicente encouraged forming alliances with experts across different mechanisms and regions for broader support.
Watch the full webinar here!