- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 22, 2002

THE HAGUE Hundreds of Americans have applied for the initial 26 jobs at the new International Criminal Court (ICC) despite the Bush administration's strong opposition to the tribunal, court officials said yesterday.
Although preference in the hiring process will be given to candidates from the court's 139 member-states, the officials said that there is no rule that disqualifies U.S. citizens, and that they will be seriously considered based on their competence and skills.
"We've received over 1,400 applications so far, and those from the United States are in the hundreds," said a member of the advanced team that has been setting up the new institution since July 1. "We also keep getting phone calls from Americans interested in working for us every day."
More than 80 nations have signed and ratified the statute. The United States, which had signed it under President Clinton, withdrew its signature earlier this year.
The Bush administration is worried that U.S. officials and soldiers overseas might be prosecuted for political reasons, and it is negotiating bilateral accords with individual countries to shield Americans from the court's jurisdiction.
The ICC official would not discuss the U.S. applications in more detail but said they were for positions "across the board," including in finance, legal affairs, information technology and human resources.
Bruno Cathala, the first senior ICC official elected by the court's governing board last month, said a panel of 10 persons will do all initial hiring 60 slots have to be filled by the end of December and another 120 by end of next year. He also noted that some members of the advance team will stay on after its mandate expires next week.
"As for judges and a general prosecutor, they will be elected by the member-states in February and will be sworn in on March 11. Then the 18 judges will elect president of the court," said Mr. Cathala, who as director of common services is in charge of setting up The Hague-based court's operations.
The entire institution now occupies only one floor in an office building across town from the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, where ex-President Slobodan Milosevic is currently on trial.
But the ICC will eventually take up 15 floors, which are now under major reconstruction so that they can accommodate such unique necessities as courtrooms, said Phakiso Mochochoko, legal adviser of the advance team. By 2008, he added, the tribunal will move into a brand-new building.
"Out biggest challenge so far has been how to meet all the expectations," he said. "There was nothing in the ICC statute on preparatory work, so we had to apply a lot of imagination."
In addition to organizational and logistical work, the advance team's mandate includes responding to the numerous inquiries received since the Rome statute entered into force nearly four months ago, as well as recording and filing all complaints from around the world.
Mr. Cathala, a former French judge who has been on the job only a week but was previously deputy registrar at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, said the most important lesson from Yugoslav tribunal is that the new court should be much more transparent about all its work.
While many of the job applications at the ICC are coming from Yugoslav tribunal employees, Mr. Cathala said there is no effort to directly and deliberately recruit people from the temporary to the permanent court.

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