Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Judge Theodor Meron of the United States, a veteran jurist with long experience in dealing with war crimes and international law, was today elected to his second term as President of the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
He will begin a two-year term on 17 November, succeeding President Patrick Robinson of Jamaica, as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) hears cases against two of the most important defendants ever brought before it during its nearly 20 years of existence, the former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadžic and military chief Ratko Mladic.
Both have been indicted on a slew of charges over atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, including genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions, deportation, hostage-taking and inflicting terror on civilians, particularly in the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the supposedly “safe haven” of Srebrenica in July 1995 in one of the most notorious events of the conflict.
Since his election to the ICTY by the UN General Assembly in March 2001, Judge Meron has served on the appeals chamber for both the ICTY and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and already served as ICTY President from March 2003 to November 2005. He was elected today by acclamation today by his fellow ICTY judges.
A leading scholar of international humanitarian law, human rights, and international criminal law, Judge Meron spearheaded a series of reforms during his first presidential term to increase the efficiency of court proceedings and helped to establish a war crimes chamber in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, an important step in the development of the rule of law in the Balkans.
Prior to his election to the ICTY, Judge Meron was a member of the US delegation to the human dimensions conference of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in Copenhagen in 1990 and to the Rome conference in 1998 on setting up the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The judges today also elected Carmel Agius of Malta, who was first elected to ICTY in 2001, as Vice-President in succession to O-gon Kwon of the Republic of Korea (ROK).
(UN Press Release)