Judge Vagn Pruesse Joensen

Curatorium member

Judge Vagn Pruesse Joensen (Denmark) is a judge of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) and duty judge at the Mechanism’s branch in Arusha, Tanzania, since the Mechanism’s inception in July 2012. The Mechanism serves as successor to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Judge Joensen was the last president and presiding judge of the trial chamber of the ICTR. He 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. He was re-elected as ICTR President in April 2013 for a second term and in April 2015 for the remaining period until ICTR closed on 31 December 2015.

Judge Joensen joined the ICTR in May 2007 as an ad litem judge and a member of Trial Chamber III and was the chairperson of the Tribunal’s Rules Committee since its inception in 2007. He was Vice-President of the Tribunal from August 2011 until February 2012.

Before joining the ICTR, 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 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 of 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.