By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS, July 17 (Reuters) – The U.N. secretary-general plans to name South African judge Navanethem Pillay as the world body’s next human rights chief, succeeding the outspoken Louise Arbour, diplomats said on Thursday.
Pillay is now a judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. As a lawyer in South Africa, she defended anti-apartheid activists and championed the right of Nelson Mandela and other dissidents to legal assistance.
Several diplomats, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity because the appointment is not yet official, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was expected to announce Pillay’s appointment as early as Friday.
Arbour, a Canadian, said in March she would not seek a second four-year term as the Geneva-based U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights after her term expired on June 30.