Judge Vagn Joensen is currently a Judge at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (“Mechanism”) and one of three Duty Judges at its Arusha Branch. Judge Joensen was also the President, and Presiding Judge, of the Trial Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (“ICTR”). Judge Joensen was first elected as ICTR President at a special election held in February 2012 to fill the seat of the departing President upon her assignment to the Appeals Chamber. Judge Joensen was re-elected to a second term as ICTR President in April 2013, and served as ICTR President until the closure of the ICTR on 31 December 2015.
He joined the Tribunal in May 2007 as an ad litem Judge and member of Trial Chamber III, and was the Chairperson of the Tribunal’s Rules Committee at its inception in 2007. He was Vice-President of the Tribunal from August 2011 until February 2012. Judge Joensen was elected as a Judge of the Mechanism, the institution serving as successor to the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“ICTY”), in December 2011 and has served as Duty Judge for its Arusha Branch since July 2012.
Before joining the Tribunal, Judge Joensen was a Judge at the Danish High Court, Eastern Division, in Copenhagen for more than a decade and served as an international Judge at the United Nation Mission in Kosovo (“UNMIK”) from 2001 to 2002. Born in 1950, Judge Joensen obtained a Master of Law in 1973 at the University of Aarhus, and studied at the City of London College and Harvard Law School. Judge Joensen served in the Danish Ministry of Justice until he was appointed a Judge at the City Court of Copenhagen in 1982. He has taught constitutional, criminal, and civil law at the Law Faculty of the University of Aarhus and of the University of Copenhagen.