Monday, April 03, 2006

Justice, Samoan Style

Can anyone explain to me why Samoa--the Independent State of Samoa (formerly Western Samoa), not the not-so-independent American Samoa--seems to be favored by those who elect judges to serve on international courts? Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa was one of the original judges elected to serve on the International Criminal Court. (He is, however, no longer on the Court.) The presiding judge of Trial Chamber II of the Special Court for Sierra Leone is Richard Lussick of Samoa.

In spite of the fact that international justice is a growth industry, there are not that many positions available for international court judges: fifteen spots on the International Court of Justice, eighteen on the ICC, eleven on the Special Court for Sierra Leone, sixteen permanent judges and nine ad litem judges on both the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. That equals ninety-four. We could throw in a few more for various regional courts, but we're still talking about a pretty small number. And yet, until January of this year, two of whatever that small total is were from Samoa, a country with a population approximately equal to that of Reno, Nevada or Knoxville, Tennessee.

And while we're on the topic of Samoa, can anyone tell me (1) why the caramel/chocolate Girl Scout cookies used to be called "Samoas" and (2) why they're not anymore?