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At UN, Togolese Competes for ICTY Judgeship with Estonia & Australia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 14 -- The night before the scheduled November 15 showdown in the Security Council on the African Union's request that the Council defer for one year the International Criminal Court's Kenya proceedings, another vote on November 18 gave rise to more retail politics.

  In the first floor of Uganda House on 45th Street, Togo sponsored a reception for Koffi Kumelio A. Afande, candidate to be a permanent judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

  Earlier in the week Inner City Press was told there were either five or six candidates for this single position; one Permanent Representative (not Togo's Kodjo Menan) told Inner City Press that "the Westerners are standing in the way of an African judge on the ICTY."

  This, combined with descriptions of Friday's Security Council vote as one for or against Africa, added spice to Thursday evening's reception, along with the Togolese food, stews of two different colors and three kinds of rice.

  In attendance were Permanent Representatives ranging from New Zealand to Cameroon, Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt and others; two representatives from the US Mission; a hard-working Gulf state election officers. "They're all qualified," was a complaint, "I'm glad the capital will made the decision."

   As from the Human Rights Council race, Jordan dropped out ("all in" for the Security Council, it was observed). In the audience were candidates from Estonia and Australia - this is not to ignore them, it is a sketch of a quintessentially UN event, a campaign speech with spicy food and open bar.

  (Also, there is not much on the Internet on this race, another trigger for this story. It can be said some of those convicted by the ICTY serve their sentences in Estonia; here is a statement from Australia on the ICTY residual mechanism.)

  As photographs were taken and hands shaken, Inner City Press received a complaint that France had "played cheap" with the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, that things now depend on pledging and will "go slow." The question arises: how then would Central African Republic get done?

  But first, the campaigning, the retail politics. Kodjo Menan made the introduction, going back two years to give thanks for election to the Security Council, where Togo's term ends next month. Koffi Kumelio A. Afande pointed out that he is the consensus candidate, speaks French and English and knows all the applicable law.

The campaign speech, Nov 14, 2013, Djibouti PR et al looking on, by M.R. Lee

  He said that while Togo has given peacekeepers and police for some time, to Mali it send medical personnel as well, and now offers legal expertise.

  He greeted the two other candidates in attendance but closed with the hope that every one makes the right decision on Monday. We may have more before then -- but first, Friday's Kenya ICC vote in the Security Council. Watch this site.


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