Security Council, General Assembly Unable to Reach Agreement for Remaining Vacancy on International Court of Justice

The Security Council this afternoon, meeting independently from, but concurrently with the General Assembly, failed to elect the last of five members to the International Court of Justice for a nine year term, beginning on 6 February 2018.

In the election, six candidates were contesting five positions for nine year terms. Five of the candidates are current members of the International Court of Justice: Ronny Abraham (France), the incumbent President of the Court; Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), the incumbent Vice President; AntAnio Augusto Cancado Trindade (Brazil); Dalveer Bhandari (India); and Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom). The sixth candidate is Nawaf Salam, currently the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations.

Voting took place simultaneously in the Security Council and the General Assembly. Under the terms of the Court's Statute, a candidate obtaining an absolute majority of votes in both organs is considered elected. In the Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority and no distinction is made between permanent and non permanent Council members. By contrast, all 193 Member States in the General Assembly are electors. Accordingly, for the purpose of the election, 97 votes constitute an absolute majority in the Assembly. For Security Council results of the 10 November election, see Press Release SC/13063, and for General Assembly results, see Press Release GA/11971.

After five rounds of voting on 10 November, the Council re elected Mr. Abraham, Mr. Cancado Trindade and Mr. Yusuf to their seats, also selecting Mr. Salam. As Mr. Greenwood received the required majority in the Council, and Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly, the Council and the Assembly met today to continue the election process.

In five rounds of voting, Mr. Greenwood acquired the absolute majority in the Council, but Mr. Bhandari received the required majority in the Assembly. The Council and the Assembly will have to meet again, at a date to be determined, to continue the election process. For General Assembly results, see Press Release GA/11974.

The Court's composition on 6 February 2018, not including the candidate still to be elected, will be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parentheses): Ronny Abraham (France) (2027); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) (2024); AntAnio Augusto Cancado Trindade (Brazil) (2027); James Richard Crawford (Australia) (2024); Joan E. Donoghue (United States) (2024); Giorgio Gaja (Italy) (2021); Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation) (2024); Xue Hanqin (China) (2021); Hisashi Owada (Japan) (2021); Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) (2021); Peter Tomka (Slovakia) (2021); and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) (2027).

Located in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Court of Justice is the principal judicial body of the United Nations. Composed of 15 judges, it adjudicates between States, and its legal opinions are binding. The Court also issues advisory opinions when requested to do so.

Source: United Nations

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