UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — The General Assembly on Monday approved by consensus the appointment of South African judge Navanethem Pillay as the UN new high commissioner for human rights to succeed Louise Arbour of Canada.
Pillay, who was formally nominated by UN chief Ban Ki-moon last Thursday, currently serves as an appeals chamber judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC).
She is to take up her new post on September 1 for a four-year term.
In a statement released by his spokeswoman Michele Montas, Ban said he was "gratified" that his nomination of Pillay as Arbour's successor has been endorsed by the General Assembly."
Pillay's achievements were praised by the United Nations' regional groups, and the nonaligned movement.
Speaking on behalf of the West European group, France's deputy ambassador Jean-Pierre Lacroix pledged the group's "full support" to Pillay in her "vital mission".
Cuba's deputy ambassador Ileana Nunez Mordoche saisd Pillay could also count on the nonaligned movement's full support.
Born in 1941 and of Tamil descent, Pillay, who has been with the ICC since, previously served as a judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
In that capacity, she played a key role in landmark decisions defining rape as an institutionalized weapon of war and a crime of genocide.
Assembly members also paid tribute to Arbour.
The Canadian announced in March that she would not renew her mandate due to personal reasons, after a period that saw her office released damning reports on countries ranging from the United States to Zimbabwe to Sudan.
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