Judge Vagn Joensen (Denmark) has been elected President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Judge Florence Rita Arrey (Cameroun) has been elected Vice-President of the Tribunal. Judge Joensen replaces Judge Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) who will be redeployed to the Appeals Chamber in The Hague next month. Judge Arrey takes over the Vice-Presidency from Judge Joensen. The President of the Tribunal, Judge Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan), on 13 February 2012, announced that the new President will assume his duties on 2 March 2012, and the new Vice-President will assume her duties on 14 February 2012.
Judge Joensen joined the Tribunal in May 2007 as ad litem Judge and member of Trial Chamber III. Before joining the Tribunal, Judge Joensen was a judge at the Danish High Court, Eastern Division, in Copenhagen since 1994 and served as an international judge for the UNMIK in Kosovo from 2001 to 2002. Born in 1950, Judge Joensen obtained a Master of Law in 1973 at the University of Aarhus, and has studied at the City of London College and Harvard Law School. Judge Joensen served in the Danish Ministry of Justice until he was appointed a Judge at the City Court of Copenhagen in 1982, and he had been teaching constitutional, criminal and civil law at the Law Faculty of the University of Aarhus and of the University of Copenhagen. Judge Joensen has been the Chairperson of the Tribunal’s Rules Committee since its inception in 2007, and was Vice-President of the Tribunal from August 2011 to February 2012.
Judge Arrey joined the Tribunal in October 2003 as ad litem Judge and member of Trial Chamber III. Prior to her election to the Tribunal, Judge Arrey served as Judge in the Supreme Court of Cameroun. Before, she was the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for ten years - the first Cameroonian woman to hold the post. Born in 1948, Judge Arrey holds a certificate in Legal Treaty Drafting and International Law from the University of London, Advanced Institute of Legal Studies as well as a Diploma in Magistracy from ENAM, Yaoundé and LLB Honours from the University of Lagos. Judge Arrey is President of the Cameroonian Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) and since 2008 is an elected member of the International Board of Directors of the IAWJ. In celebration of International Women’s Day in Cameroon, on 8 May 2011 Judge Arrey was named amongst 50 women who had made an impact in Cameroon and hailed “as a no nonsense Judge” by her Government.
In July 2011, the UN Security Council, acting on the request of the President of the ICTR decided that notwithstanding the relevant articles of the Court’s Statute, ad litem judges were now eligible to stand for, and vote in, elections for the Tribunal’s presidency and vice presidency. Under the previous rules, the critical positions of the President and Vice President were in danger of having no eligible candidates, since all permanent judges are expected to depart from the Trial Chambers in the coming months.