Japan will field Chikako Taya, a veteran female public prosecutor, in the election for ad litem judges at the United Nations tribunal for crimes committed against humanity in the former Yugoslavia, U.N. sources said Monday.
If elected to the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, or ICTY, the 55-year-old Taya would be the third Japanese to become a judge at an international court, after Shigeru Oda and Soji Yamamoto. The ICTY is based in The Hague.
Both Oda and Yamamoto are men. Oda serves on the International Court of Justice in The Hague and Yamamoto is on the International Tribunal for the Law of Sea in Hamburg.
The decision to field Taya in the election, to be held around mid-June, reflects Japan’s strong determination to make “intellectual” as well as financial contributions to global peace, the U.N. sources said.
Japan’s postwar Constitution imposes severe restrictions on any military contributions to ensuring global peace.
In addition to 14 standing judges, the ICTY has 27 ad litem judges, who participate in trials on an ad hoc basis during their four-year terms. Ad litem judges are paid $160,000 a year.
Ad litem judges, like standing judges, must get votes from more than half of the 189 U.N. members plus Switzerland and the Vatican.
According to the U.N. sources, more than 60 people are expected to run, but Taya has a very good chance of winning a position.
New standing ICTY judges were chosen from 25 candidates for four-year terms in an election in March. Japan did not field anyone for that election.
Taya was born in 1946. She became a public prosecutor after graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1969. She has been working in the Tokyo High Public Prosecutor’s Office since April 2000.
She participated in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s mission in former Yugoslavia in 1995.
Taya has engaged in various other international activities, including becoming a member of the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights twice, from 1987 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. She has been a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women since 1998.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.