The 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly recently elected two Caribbean nationals, Justice Francis Belle of Barbados and Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell of Trinidad and Tobago, to serve 7 year terms of office on the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) as half-time judges.
The appointments took effect on July 10, 2019. UNDT half-time judges serve on rotation in New York, USA; Geneva, Switzerland; and Nairobi, Kenya.
Four judges were elected by secret ballot in total, Justice Rachel Sikwese of Malawi and Justice Margaret Tibulya of Uganda, were also appointed. Judges will serve on one of two entities — the other being the United Nations Appeals Tribunal — that comprise the Organisation’s system of the administration of justice for employment-related disputes. Half-time judges on the Dispute Tribunal are deployed up to a cumulative period of six months per year, as decided by the President based on the caseload and any judicial absences affecting the work of the Tribunal.
Through resolution 62/228, adopted in 2007, the Assembly decided that it will appoint judges to those tribunals based on the recommendation of the Internal Justice Council. As such, the judges elected were selected from a circulated list of candidates recommended by the Council (documents A/73/911 and A/73/911/Corr.1). Also before the Assembly was a related memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/73/917).
To be eligible for appointment as a judge to the Dispute Tribunal, candidates must be of high moral character and impartial; possess at least 10 years of judicial experience in the field of administrative law or the equivalent within one or more national jurisdictions; and be fluent, both orally and in writing, in English or French.
A total of 325 applications were received globally, 51 of which came from Latin America and the Caribbean. 96 candidates advanced to the written assessment stage and 23 were invited to interview with the Internal Justice Council at the Hague, Netherlands. Finally, 7 candidates received the Council’s recommendation for consideration of an appointment by the General Assembly and 4 were appointed by the General Assembly by way of a secret ballot in an election process.