Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unusual Episode on the Third Day of Judicial Elections at ICC Assembly of States Parties

The ninth and tenth rounds of voting in the International Criminal Court judicial elections here at UN Headquarters today took an interesting turn. The ninth round was delayed because France objected to holding consultations on the omnibus resolution in the same room while the ballots were being counted between rounds. With six candidates remaining after the withdrawal of the Mexican candidate, States Parties to failed to elect any additional judges after electing three judges on Monday.

The Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), which is seeking to claim one of the three remaining seats, asked for a break in order to conduct regional consultations, presumably to designate one of the two GRULAC candidates as the favored regional candidate. There then appeared to be a miscommunication between the group and the president of the ASP chairing the meeting: a number of GRULAC delegations asked for more time to consult after the ballots had been distributed, claiming that they had made a request for more time. Under Rule 68 of the Rules of the ASP, delegations may not interrupt a vote once it has started unless there is a point of order on the conduct of the election:

Rule 68
Conduct during voting

After the President has announced the commencement of voting, no representative of a State Party may interrupt the voting, except that representatives of States Parties may interrupt on a point of order in connection with the actual conduct of the voting.

Delegations disagreed about whether the starting of the vote was "in connection with the actual conduct of the voting." There was a three minute break, which went much longer, during which the ballots remained on the desks and there was significant confusion. In the end, several delegations were very concerned about the integrity of this ballot and asked that it be canceled. The president permitted the consultations to continue, which in the end produced no withdrawals, after which a "second" tenth round of voting was held.

No candidates were elected in the tenth round.

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