Dissenting judge appointed Vice-President of the ICJ
Publish date: 12 February 2024
Issue Number: 1063
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Julia Sebutinde from Uganda has been elected Vice-President of the International Court of Justice for a term of three years. That will see her help to lead the court for at least the first part of SA's effort to have Israel declared to be engaged in genocide in Gaza. Sebutinde was the only judge to vote against all the emergency measures proposed by SA, saying the matter should not be before the ICJ at all. On 26 January, the court ordered Israel to take interim measures in relation to what it found plausible allegations of genocide, but the actual evaluation of those claims will likely take several years. News24 reports that Sebutinde was the only judge to vote against all the interim measures ordered by the court, which included some but not all of the interventions for which SA had asked. Sebutinde has been a judge of the ICJ since 2012, during which the court has started to consider claims of genocide in Ukraine and Myanmar. Before that she spent six years as a judge on the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which prosecuted Charles Taylor and others for war crimes.
South Africa's Dire Tladi was also formally sworn-in at The Hague as a new judge of the ICJ. SA’s diplomat in the Netherlands, Vusi Madonsela, was present during the swearing-in ceremony. Tladi – an expert in international law – was elected to the World Court by the UN General Assembly and Security Council. IoL reports that the court asked each of the four new judges to take an oath of office. ‘I solemnly declare that I will perform my duties and exercise my powers as judge, honourably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously,’ said Tladi as he began his new term. IoL reports that Tladi starts his term a few weeks after SA won its case against Israel in the ICJ. Tladi was was legal adviser to Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor and later adviser to the SA mission in New York. Tladi was sworn with Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo of Mexico, Sarah Hull of the US and Bogdan-Lucian Aurescu of Romania.