Appointment will come as debate heats up over Syria
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/05/2012 -- Three lawyers are being considered to be the International Criminal Court’s next deputy chief prosecutor at a time when a possible ICC role in Syria is being debated.
The chief prosecutor has recommended the three as candidates for the position she left in June when she was promoted. Fatou Bensouda nominated Raija Toiviainen of Finland, Paul Rutledge of Australia and James K. Stewart of Canada.
All three come with extensive experience in administration and prosecution. Bensouda said each one was of “very high quality,” the Irish Times reported.
Representatives of the countries that set up the ICC will meet to decide on a candidate in November. Rutledge was an adviser to the public prosecutor of Papua New Guinea and to the public prosecutions director of the Solomon Islands.
Stewart has experience in prosecutions with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He also worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with the appeals counsel and Legal Advisory Division.
Toiviainen has led the international division for the prosecutor general of Finland and also was state prosecutor. She led a genocide prosecution that resulted in a life sentence for a Rwandan who had sought Finnish asylum.
There has been controversy over what role the ICC might play in the civil strife in Syria. The ICC lacks jurisdiction because Syria is not a state party to the court, but some have suggested that the U.N. Security Council could seek an ICC inquiry.
But the problem of the court’s jurisdiction remains, says a Human Rights Watch counsel for international justice.
“When it comes to referral, either the Security Council or Syria itself must do this,” Balkees Jarrah told the Irish Times. “However, victims can and should certainly bring forward information regarding crimes to the court,” he added.
Carla del Ponte, a prosecutor, has been named to a U.N. panel that will look into whether war crimes have been committed in Syria.
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