Wednesday 1 October 2008

Election of Judges

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, re-elected the Luxemburg judge at the Court, Dean Spielmann, for a new term. He was elected out of a list of three candidates by 86 out of 126 votes cast. His new term will end 31 October 2013. Judge Spielmann joined the Court in June 2004.

During the same session the Parliamentary Assembly adopted an important change in its policy on electing judges to the Court. Since 2004 the Assembly had refused to consider lists of candidates on which only one sex was represented. The underlying aim was to achieve a balance of gender in the Court. Earlier this year, the Court, in an Advisory Opinion held that this policy was incompatible with the Convention. As a result, the Assembly has now decided to consider single-sex lists of (three) candidates "in exceptional cases, where all the necessary and appropriate steps have been taken to include the under-represented sex." In practice this entails that very small state parties to the Convention (e.g. Liechtenstein or Malta) could submit such single-sex lists if they can show that they have done a thorough job in looking for suitable candidates fo both sexes.