Free Press Journal

India and Britain are in tight race for the United Nations’ ICJ seat


neck-and-neck fight

United Nations : India’s Dalveer Bhandari and Britain’s Christopher Greenwood are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election to the ICJ as the UN could not decide between them after electing four out of five judges to the World Court.

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly and 15 of the Security Council will reconvene on Monday to decide between Bhandari, 70, and Greenwood, 62. Based in The Hague, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term. Established in 1945, the role of the ICJ is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions. Along with justice Bhandari and justice Greenwood, three others — Ronny Abraham of France, Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade of Brazil and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia — were seeking re-election. Their terms expire on February 5, 2018, reports PTI.

Nawaf Salam of Lebanon was also in the fray, making a total of six candidate for five positions. Judges of France, Somalia, Lebanon and Brazil were elected after fourth round of voting late in the afternoon, as they received absolute majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council elections.

Stakes are now high for both India and Britain for the last seat.       In the fourth round, Bhandari received a majority — 115 votes — in the General Assembly, while Greenwood received 76 votes. However, in the 15-member Security Council Greenwood got majority (nine) of the votes as against six votes by Bhandari. As a result, another round of votes has been scheduled for Monday.

 As per the United Nation’s ICJ election rules, candidates need to get absolute majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council. Both elections are held simultaneously but independently of each other. That means 97 votes in the Assembly and eight votes in the Security Council are required to win the ICJ election. Several rounds of elections were held today at the General Assembly and the Security Council in the absence of any candidates getting absolute majority. A former judge of the Supreme Court, Bhandari was elected to the International Court of Justice in April 27, 2012 following a vacancy after the resignation of sitting court judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh from Jordon on being appointed as the Prime Minister.Bhandari had received 122 votes in the UN General assembly as against 58 for Florentino Feliciano from the Philippines.

 The ICJ, on India’s petition in May, stayed the execution of Indian national and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on the charge of “spying”.