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As ICJ Judges Are Paid as Arbitrators, Need for Reform, Quid Pro Quo Alleged

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 25 -- The International Court of Justice is charged with major litigation of nation against nation, but its judges are allowed to do outside work through the Permanent Court of Arbitration, ICJ President Hisashi Owada confirmed to Inner City Press on Monday.

  Owada insisted that this is not "moonlighting." But Inner City Press has received complaints that ICJ cases and motions go too slowly due to the outside work on judges.

  "Allowing this might have made sense years ago when the ICJ didn't have many cases," a litigant told Inner City Press this week. "But now it should be stopped."

  Owada insisted that there is no problem, saying that the Permanent Court of Arbitration is "just a piece of paper... A number of judges on the Court are on the list" and are "selected if compatible... as ad hoc arbitrators." It appears that as arbitrators they are paid based on the value of the case their hearing.

  A complainant used as one of his examples a long time case between Colombia and Nicaragua about maritime borders. A separately, more detailed and troubling complaint about this case transmitted anonymously to Inner City Press. [But see this.]

  To summarize it, the allegation is that a sitting judge of the ICJ, seeking a second nine year term, has somehow a result to one side in the dispute, in which a decision is expected in 2012:

"One of the members of the Count who is running for reelection for a second 9 year terms has approached at least a non permanent member of the Security Council and promised to back its position on a pending case."

 It is an explosive charge, of the type is seemed clear Owada who would not accept any problem with paid double service in the Permanent Court of Arbitration would not directly respond to. But who will?

(c) UN Photo
Owada with Ban Ki-moon, reforms not shown

  Inner City Press waited and stopped Owada, who is the father of Japan's Princess Masako, when he emerged from a closed door briefing of the Security Council. One Council ambassador came out earlier and complained to Inner City Press that inside it was "eleven pages of text, narrowly spaced." Who is overseeing the court? Who can reform it?

  Earlier this month Inner City Press asked a senior General Assembly official if the ICJ seat being vacate by Jorden's new prime minister would be filled in this round of elections. No, was the answer, the ICJ elections are complicated and take weeks or months to prepare.

  As we will see, the elections for judges of the International Criminal Court are even more complicated, and also full of hardball politics such as a Western Permanent member of the Security Council offering to support a candidate as a quid pro quo for supporting its P-5 candidate.  Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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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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