Ohio Appellate Judge Mark P. Painter has been elected to a seven year term on the new “United Nations Appeals Tribunal” – Leaves Ohio Appellate Bench

Judge Mark P. Painter after 27 years on the Ohio bench has been elected to serve on the United Nations Appeals Tribunal. 


General Assembly appoints 12 judges to United Nations dispute tribunals


in key step to improve organization’s internal justice system


The General Assembly today appointed five judges to serve on the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, and seven for the United Nations Appeals Tribunal ‑‑ key bodies created in 2007 to help bolster the world body’s system of dealing with internal grievances and disciplinary cases.


Today’s action followed up the Assembly’s resolution 62/228 on “administration of justice at the United Nations”, which established the basic framework for a new independent, transparent, professionalized, and decentralized system of administration of justice.  That text also emphasized the importance of an efficient and effective system of internal justice to ensure that individuals and the Organization were held accountable for their actions, in accordance with relevant resolutions and regulations.


Among other things, the resolution established a two-tier formal system for the administration of justice, comprising a first instance United Nations Dispute Tribunal ‑‑ with registries established in New York, Geneva and Nairobi, three of the world body’s main headquarters ‑‑ and an appellate Tribunal, to be based in New York.


The Assembly also decided that the judges would serve only one non-renewable term of seven years on either Tribunal, with the exception of two of the initial judges of the Dispute Tribunal and three of the initial judges of the Appeals Tribunal ‑‑ to be determined by the drawing of lots ‑‑ who would serve three years and may consequently apply to the same Tribunal for a non-renewable term of seven years.


Another body created under resolution 62/228, the Internal Justice Council, reviewed applications in July 2008 and interviewed shortlisted candidates in September 2008.  The Assembly adopted the statutes of the respective Tribunals in resolution 63/253, and the two bodies will be operational as of 1 July 2009.


According to article 4(2) of the Dispute Tribunal’s statute, no two judges should be of the same nationality, and due regard should be given to geographical distribution and gender balance.  Article 4(3) requires that, for an appointment, “a person shall be of high moral character and possess at least 10 years of judicial experience in the field of administrative law, or the equivalent, within one or more national jurisdictions”.


Having received the required majority of votes in the Assembly today, the following were appointed full-time judges to the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, for seven-year terms beginning 1 July 2009:  Mr. Thomas Laker (Germany) to Geneva, Mr. Vinod Boolell (Mauritius) to Nairobi and Ms. Memooda Ebrahim-Carstens (Botswana) to New York.


Elected to the Dispute Tribunal as half-time judges, whose terms would also begin on 1 July, were Ms. Coral Shaw ( New Zealand) and Mr. Goolam Hoosen Kader Meeran ( United Kingdom).  As a transitional measure, the Assembly drew lots, selecting Ms. Ebrahim-Carstens ( Botswana) and Mr. Meeran ( United Kingdom).


The Assembly next elected the judges of the Appeals Tribunal.  To be eligible for appointment as a judge, article 3(3) of the Appeals Tribunal’s statute requires that “a person shall be of high moral character and possess at least 15 years of judicial experience in the field of administrative law, or the equivalent within one or more national jurisdictions”.


Elected to seven-year terms on the Appeals Tribunal, to begin on 1 July 2009, were:  Mr. Kamaljit Singh Garewal ( India); Ms. Sophia Adinyira ( Ghana); Mr. Mark P. Painter ( United States); Ms. Inés Weinberg de Roca ( Argentina); Mr. Jean Courtial ( France); Ms. Rose Boyko ( Canada); and Mr. Luis Maria Simón ( Uruguay).


Drawing lots, the Assembly then appointed Mr. Painter (United States), Mr. Courtial (France) and Mr. Garewal to serve three-year terms on the Appeals Tribunal, beginning 1 July 2009.


Just ahead of the elections, the representative of France, speaking on behalf of the French-speaking ambassadors, said that the members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie fully supported the reforms to the United Nations internal justice system.


At the same time, he asked why, with two or three candidates being considered for each post on the Dispute Tribunal, there was such a dearth of French-speaking candidates for full-time judges in the New York registry.  French was one of the working languages of the United Nations, and considering the applications of so few French-speaking candidates risked impeding the ability of some civil servants in their appearance before the Tribunal.


Agreeing, Senegal’s representative reaffirmed his country’s attachment to the creation of the Tribunal, but said the lack of candidates who spoke or understood French was regrettable as it could impose serious constraints on civil servants wishing to make their case before the body.


Later in the meeting, the representative of Canada said today’s elections marked an important step towards the realization of the long-overdue reform of the United Nations system of internal justice.  Still, the New York-based registry for the Dispute Tribunal might be unable to respond adequately to the needs of French-speaking individuals.  Canada would add its voice to those that had called on the Internal Justice Council to give due consideration to that matter in the future.


At the outset of the meeting, the Assembly Vice-President announced that Paraguay had made the necessary payments to reduce its arrears below the amount required under Article 19 of the United Nations Charter.


[Under Article 19, a Member State in arrears in the payment of its dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the General Assembly.]


The General Assembly will meet again at a time and date to be announced.


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