[JURIST] A group of senior lawyers from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] have sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urging the promotion of the current ICTY deputy prosecutor, American David Tolbert [UN press release], to ICTY chief prosecutor when Carla Del Ponte [official profile] steps down from the position at the end of this year, the Associated Press reported Monday. In a letter written in May, the 18 lawyers described Tolbert as a "champion of international criminal justice" and said that he would be an "outstanding" appointment during what was described as a "critical phase" of the ICTY's work. The letter was written amid reports that the UN was considering appointing Serge Brammertz [official profile], the former International Criminal Court deputy prosecutor currently heading the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, to replace Del Ponte [JURIST report]. No replacement for Del Ponte has yet been named.
Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general, has served two four-year terms as the ICTY chief prosecutor. The United Nations Security Council has extended [press release] her term until December 31. Del Ponte was initially expected to step down in September [JURIST report], but in June she said she would stay until the end of the year while the UN chooses her replacement. Tribunal observers have suggested that the ICTY would be best served by an internal promotion as it is currently scheduled to complete its work by 2010. AP has more.