45th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 72nd Session

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SIX OFFICIAL 09-Nov-2017 00:13:08
General Assembly, Security Council elect four judges to International Court of Justice.
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Meeting concurrently with the Security Council, the General Assembly today elected four judges from an initial pool of six candidates to the International Court of Justice for terms of nine years beginning 6 February 2018.

The General Assembly re elected two current judges, Ronny Abraham (France) and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), while also choosing two new justices, Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) and Nawaf Salam (Lebanon). All four were elected in the fifth round of voting. A fifth vacancy remained open following six rounds of voting. (For Security Council results, see Press Release SC/13063.)

Prior to voting, Member States had before them a memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/72/181), which detailed the current composition of the Court and the procedure to be followed in the Assembly and the Security Council with regard to the election; a list of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/72/182); and the curricula vitae of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/72/183).

Also before them was a note by the Secretary-General (document A/72/182/Add.1) in which he informed the Assembly that the national group of Zambia had decided to withdraw its nomination of Chaloka Beyani as a candidate.

Ronny Abraham (France), a Member of the International Court of Justice since 15 February 2005, was re elected as of 6 February 2009 and has served as President of the Court since 6 February 2015. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, he holds a diploma in Advanced Studies in Public Law from the University of Paris I and a diploma from the Institut d’etudes politiques of Paris, where he was also a professor of international law until 1998.

Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) has been Vice-President of the International Court of Justice since February 2015 and a Member of the Court since February 2009. He is a member of the panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the founding Chairman of the African Institute of International Law in Arusha, Tanzania. He holds a Docteur dès sciences politiques degree in International Law from the University of Geneva, a Juris Doctorate from the Faculty of Law, Somali National University, and a certificate from the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law, Hague Academy of International Law.

Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) has held various international legal positions including as President of the Inter American Court of Human Rights (elected 1999, re elected 2002), Vice-President of the Inter American Court of Human Rights (elected 1997), and Judge of the Inter American Court of Human Rights (elected 1995, re elected 2000). He was a professor of Public International Law at the University of Brasilia, as well as at the Diplomatic Academy Rio Branco, Brazil, and holds both a Ph.D. and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Nawaf Salam (Lebanon) was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York as of July 2007, and had represented Lebanon in the Security Council for its two-year term as a non permanent member in 2010 and 2011. He also served as Vice-President of the General Assembly at its sixty seventh session (September 2012-September 2013) and as head of Lebanon’s delegation to the Paris Climate Change Summit and the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015. He holds a Ph.D. from the Institut d’etudes politiques and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and worked as an attorney at law both in Lebanon and the United States.

The remaining 10 judges sitting on the Court, whose terms would expire either in 2021 or 2024 were: Hisadhi Owada (Japan); Peter Tomka (Slovakia); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco); Xue Hanqin (China); Joan E. Donoghue (United States); Giorgio Gaja (Italy); Julia Sebutinde (Uganda); Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica); James Richard Crawford (Australia); and Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation).

The Court’s justices are elected by obtaining an absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and the Council, without regard to their nationality, from among persons of high moral character around the world. Each must have the qualifications required in his or her respective country for appointment to the highest judicial office, or is a jurisconsult of recognized competencies in international law. No two judges may be from the same country and they may not engage in any other occupation during their term of office.

As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice settles legal disputes between States parties and gives advisory opinions to the Organization and its specialized agencies. The Court is open to all parties to its Statute, which automatically includes all Members of the United Nations.

While one candidate, Bhandari, Dalveer (India), received the absolute majority of vote required in the Assembly, the President announced that, following the independent concurrent meeting in the Security Council, no candidate had obtained the required absolute majorities in both bodies.

Another meeting would be required to elect the remaining candidate. The President thus proposed that the current meeting be adjourned and another be held at 3 p.m. Monday, 13 November, for that purpose.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, 10 November, to take up the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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