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World Criminal Court Judge Re-Elected

Posted January. 28, 2006 04:08,   


Song Sang-hyun (65), who is currently a judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a professor at Seoul National University’s college of law, was re-elected to the position of judge with the court for a nine-year term on January 26.

After he was sure of the outcome of the election held at U.N. headquarters in New York, he said to journalists, “It is not just a personal honor, but also an expression of the national power of Korea.”

Ten candidates vied for six posts in the election.

The ICC, located in The Hague, Netherlands, was formed in July 2002 to serve as the world’s permanent international criminal court in an effort to bring those who violate international laws, like war criminals and mass murderers, to justice in the name of the international community.

Song was elected to the ICC in February 2003 as one of its inaugural judges for three years. He is currently serving on the appeals division of the ICC.

The massacres in four African countries, including Sudan and Uganda, are currently high on the court’s agenda. The court has issued arrest warrants for five masterminds of ethnic cleansing in them, and an investigation is underway.

“Korea has a continental law system, and I have studied in the U.S., so I am accustomed to both the continental and the Anglo-American legal systems,” said Song. “On many occasions, I coordinated different judicial opinions stemming from differences in legal and cultural backgrounds.” Song is also in charge of the court’s legal document computerization project.

“Korea is the seventh largest financial contributor among 100 ICC member countries, but only one permanent and three contract-based Korean employees out of 400 are working for the court,” said Song. “Young Koreans should seek careers at various international organizations more actively.”

Song is said to deserve his re-election because of his capabilities and achievements. After he graduated from Seoul National University he passed the national bar exam and the exam for high-ranking government officials. But he chose to remain a scholar and earned a doctorate at Cornell University. He is fluent in English and French, the official languages of the ICC. He has also taught Korean law in the U.S., Australia and Japan.

Jong sik Kong kong@donga.com