The 15-member United Nations Security Council has terminated the services of Gambia’s Hassan Bubacarr Jallow as Prosecutor of the International Residual Mechanisms for Criminal Tribunals with effect from Tuesday, 1 March 2016, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. In adopting Resolution 2269 (2016) on Monday, 29 February 2016, the Security Council appointed Serge Brammertz of Belgium to take over from Justice Hassan Jallow with effect from 1 March 2016. Senegal, Egypt, Angola, and the Russian Federation all abstained from the vote and voiced objections. The remaining 11 members, including the United States, United Kingdom, France and China all voted in favor of Justice Jallow’s replacement.
In a press release from the Security Council, the Egyptian delegation abstained for two reasons: “the lack of equal geographical distribution, and the UN Secretariat’s unjustified delay in submitting the candidate’s name.” See link: http://www.un.org/press/en/2016/sc12264.doc.htm
Senegal and Angola endorsed the Egyptian delegates’ position, citing the “Residual Mechanisms would be exclusively led by the Group of Western European and Other States.”
The Security Council press release further disclosed: “The Russian Federation’s representative, speaking after the vote, decried the Council’s attempt to find a pretext for justifying the delays, pointing out that, since the adoption of Resolution 1966 (2010), there had never been any consideration of agenda items without the Council being informed of delays.”
The release also reported China’s representative saying, “his delegation had voted in favor of the resolution and supported the principle of continuity. However, prosecutors must carry out their duties in an effective manner and with the international community’s confidence.”
Freedom Newspaper contacted a former United Nations employee to shed light in view of this development. The former official indicated that Justice Jallow was first appointed in early 2000 as Prosecutor for the Rwanda Tribunal. That task was completed and the Rwanda Tribunal finally closed in December 2015. In anticipation of the completion, the Security Council established a residual mechanism in 2010 which took over both the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals. Justice Jallow was appointed in 2012 as Prosecutor for the Residual Mechanism for an initial four-year term, which was due for renewal this year. It is worth clarifying that from March 2012 to December 2015, Justice Jallow was concurrently the Prosecutor of both the Rwanda Tribunal and the Residual Mechanism.
Further asked to elucidate on the objections and abstentions by the three African representatives to the Security Council, together with the permanent Russian delegation, the former UN official hinted that there is a clear disagreement, going by the release. Security Council matters are usually negotiated behind-the-scenes in typical diplomatic fashion. China’s position, remarks the former official, makes the situation unclear and difficult to comprehend in that “continuity” would suggest Justice Jallow completing the job he started. However, the abstentions of Russia, Senegal, Egypt and Angola should not be seen as a failed endorsement of Justice Jallow’s candidature for continuity, the former UN official remarked. An alternative candidate, presumably an African, might have been proposed to the Secretary General as replacement for Justice Jallow.
Further, the former official indicated that Justice Jallow might also wish to retire from the diplomatic mission or seek new challenges within the United Nations many programs worldwide.
Asked by the Freedom Newspaper as to Justice Jallow offering himself as a possible opposition coalition candidate in the forthcoming Presidential Election in December 2016, subject to residential qualification, the former UN officer intimated that he views Justice Jallow as “the ideal candidate” best suited to unify all Gambians, if qualified on the residential issue. “Justice Jallow is a diplomat away from home and I don’t know what the law says about diplomats working away from home. That notwithstanding, he possesses exceptional qualities: highly experienced, a top diplomat, exposed, highly educated, tolerant, and transcends the ethnic prejudice some opposition parties and leaders are viewed.” But, he cautioned, Justice Jallow has never been a politician, even while serving as Attorney General under the first republic. “Thus I believe it will be wishful thinking to contemplate Justice Jallow venturing into politics in the twilight of his distinguished career. Gambian society is very complexed and complicated, and African politics is very dishonorable at the present moment. It demands a lot of sacrifice,” he concluded.
Written By Our Correspondent In Banjul