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With ICC Judge Election Stalled, Latin Snarking, A Call for Cathala to Quit

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 14, updated below -- As the standoff for three remaining International Criminal Court judgeship lurched into Wednesday afternoon, there were growing calls from candidates with fewer votes to drop out.

  In the Latin group, many called for Colombia which fell to 16 votes to withdraw. But its candidate was heard to say, albeit on Tuesday afternoon, "hasta la muerte" - until death.

  The Colombia delegation has explained to Inner City Press that the country wants to make a contribution to international criminal justice, based on its history and expertise.

   One of its opponents snarks that it wants to block any ICC investigation and action on Colombia: Ocampo did visit the country, and his successor Fatou Bensouda's views are not known.

  A counter-snark notes the "23,000 petitions to the ICC to investigate murders committed in connection with the war on drugs," and says that "with a new party likely in the presidency soon, there is a desire to get a judge on the ICC pre-trial chamber to cut off any action."

 All snarking aside, Article 41 of the Rome Statute of the ICC: “A judge shall not participate in any case in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground.” But the fact that things have descended this low is telling.

We still hope to hear from both Colombia and Mexico, which recently served on the Security Council, with its view for publication before the voting is completed.

  UK candidate Morrison is up to 71 votes. An ICC member's Deputy Permanent Representative told Inner City Press flatly that the "other European" candidate, Bruno Cathala of France with 54 votes, should drop out. That a candidate rated unqualified has unequivocally said that the French mission offered trade votes, and the candidate's Permanent Representative last week told Inner City Press they would vote for France, might seem to add strength to this argument. But an Assembly of State Parties insider predicted that France with a Permanent seat on the Security Council would "never" voluntarily withdraw.

(c) UN Photo
Bruno Cathala previously at UN, vote trade and drop out not shown

  The African Group met in the hallway between rounds of voting; an attendee said discussion focused on coming together to support their candidates. But the group doesn't have the 77 votes needed. The Nigerian candidate has 52 votes. Watch this site.

Update of 6:15 pm -- the 8th round was still inconclusive. 114 states votes (down from 116 in 6th round), meaning 76 votes were needed. But Morrison of the UK at 69, Nigeria rose to 58, from 52 in sixth round. Cathala still at 54, Dominican candidate up to 46. Urbina of Costa Rica at 39. Mauritius up to 37, Mexico down to 24. Voting finished for the day, now general debate begins, with the elusive Ivorian prime minister Soro to speak tomorrow (after canceling today his press conference at 3:30, and meeting with Ban Ki-moon at 5:30). Only at the UN -- or, at #ASP10. 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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