Judge Vagn Joensen (Denmark) has been elected Vice President of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He replaces Judge Dennis Byron (St. Kitts and Nevis) who earlier this year was appointed President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The President of the Tribunal Judge Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan), on 24 August 2011, announced that the new Vice President will assume his duties on 26 August 2011.
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 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 served in the Danish Ministry of Justice until he was appointed a Judge at the City Court of Copenhagen in 1982. 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.
In July this year, 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, once all permanent judges had left, critical positions of the President and Vice President could not be filled because those positions had to be filled only by a trial judge resident in Arusha.