Last week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) elected two new judges to the European Court of Human Rights. In respect of Azerbaijan Mr Lətif Hüseynov was elected. And in respect of Macedonia, the assembly elected Mr Jovan Ilievski. Both have been elected for a term of nine years.
Lətif Hüseynov beta the tow other contenders by a large majority. He is currently professor of international law at Baku State University, teaching amongst others on the ECHR. He wrote his PhD thesis on 'State Responsibility for Violations of International Human Rights Obligations'. Both in 2005 and 2010, he already was an ad hoc judge at the European Court. In addition, he was until last year President of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), of which he had been a member since 2004. He is also a Member of the Venice commission. He is thus no stranger to Strasbourg and experienced in the wider context in which the Court works.
Jovan Ilievski comes from legal practice in criminal law and is currently the Head of the Basic Public Prosecution Office for Organised Crime and Corruption of Macedonia. He is also a member of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors (CCPE) within the Council of Europe.
As has sometimes happened in the past, the practical application of the selection procedure, shows that the Assembly is taking its work very seriously. For example, two earlier lists of three candidates submitted by the Azeri government were rejected by the Assembly for not complying with the selection guidelines. And at its last session, the Assembly rejected the lists of both Albania and Hungary, because the national selection procedures were not in line with Council of Europe standards.
Finally, a small note on the fact that - no matter how qualified these new judges are obviously - it is a pity that the unequal male-female balance within the Court is not improved through this. For a wider movement within international law to achieve gender parity in international tribunals, please read this blog post by Cecilia Bailliet on EJILTalk! Hopefully more upcoming elections of new judges in January in Strasbourg will help to change this.