Gender Parity at the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals


Some of you may have seen the recent press release of ATLAS and the GQUAL Campaign regarding the fact that all 11 nominees for judgeships of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) are male.  The press release is here.

Judge Navi Pillay

Judge Navi Pillay, elected judge of the ICTR in May 1995 and President of the Tribunal in June 1999 through May 2003.

It is of course very disappointing that women continue to be overlooked as candidates; it is perhaps more disappointing that so few individuals caught the issue.  It seems that whenever women take their eyes off the ball, practice reverts back to “business as usual,” meaning the exclusion of women.  The presence of women judges like Navi Pillay has been vitally important to the development of international criminal law, particularly as regards sexual and gender-based violence.

While the United Nations keeps emphasizing the need for more women, only four women, including the current president of the UNGA, Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, have ever served as UNGA President.  No woman has ever served as Secretary-General.  The current Secretary-General has called for gender parity “well before 2030.”  But there is now an “inverse relationship between seniority and women’s representation.”  The current list of nominees for the IRMCT underscores just how far women have to go before there will be any semblance of gender parity at the United Nations.


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