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UK Candidate for ICC Judge Runs on ICTY Record Alongside Lamp Chop Diplomacy

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 9 -- With the election of six new International Criminal Court judges set to begin on December 12 the timeliness of the issues at stake and the banality and constaints of the electoral campaigns could be exemplified by any number of candidate: but this mini portrait focuses on the British candidate Howard Morrison.

  For weeks Inner City Press has seen Morrison campaigning, at receptions and on the margins of the International Law Committee and International Court of Justice elections in the General Assembly. Finally on December 9 Morrison sat down for an interview, accompanied by a diplomat from the UK mission.

  The interview took place a canape's throw from the concluding speech and reception of the Philippines candidate, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, complete with crab cakes and lamb chops. Morrison looked tired. The process could be better designed, Morrison said several times.

  Morrison said that while the ICC deals with human rights, it is a senior criminal court and the judges selected should be ready to work from Day One. He emphasized his experience prosecuting or defending some 3000 cases, being a judge in the Birmingham Crown Court and since 2009 at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

  He said that even as a recorder, a part time judge in the UK, he was authorized to try rape cases. He went to the "prep-comm" of the ICC in 2000 to lobby for the proposition that defense lawyers should be an organic part of the ICC. He got "sucked in," he told Inner City Press, and is now running for a ICC judgeship.

  He faces more opponents, from both Africa and the Western European and Other Group for a mere two seats than does Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who faces a single opponent from Cyprus for the Asian group seat.

  The Cypriot candidate was ruled "unqualified" by an NGO convened panel, though some knowledgeable sources question that rating since the candidate is well versed in family law including abuse and other quasi-criminal matters. Inner City Press asked Morrison about the panel but he declined to speak about its findings or other candidates.

  To be fair, Inner City Press asked Morrison about a critique of his work on the ICTY, that he was involved as a defense attorney for some of the witnesses in the trial he now sit on. He said that the ICTY's trials have many of the same witnesses, so some overlap is inevitable, and that no one ever brought a recusal motion.

Howard Morrison, dogged campaign amid lamb chops not shown

  Morrison did not say, but Inner City Press will, that the process for election ICC judges does not seem designed to choose the best candidates. As Inner City Press exclusively reported in late October, France offered to support a candidate found to be unqualified if his country would support the French candidate Bruno Cathala.

On December 8 Inner City Press learned from the country of the unqualified candidate that the one certainty is that they will vote for France's Cathala, performing their part of the exposed but still in place deal. Click here for that, and watch this site.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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