2 March 2000

Press Release



The Security Council this afternoon, meeting independently, but concurrently with the General Assembly, elected Thomas Buergenthal (United States) a member of the International Court of Justice to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Stephen Schwebel (United States), as of 29 February 2000.

Mr. Buergenthal will serve for the remainder of his predecessor’s term -– until 5 February 2006. He was nominated by a group of nations composed of: Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Judge Schwebel was first elected to the Court in 1981, then re-elected in 1988 and 1997.

The Council unanimously elected Mr. Buergenthal in one round of secret balloting. Under the terms of the Court's Statute, the candidate who obtains an absolute majority of votes in both the General Assembly and in the Security Council is considered elected. In the Security Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority and no distinction is made between permanent and non- permanent members of the Council. The electors in the General Assembly are all 188 Member States together with the one non-member State (Switzerland), which is a party to the Statute of the Court. Accordingly, for the purpose of the Court election, 95 votes constitute an absolute majority in the Assembly.

According to the voting procedure, in case no candidate receives an absolute majority after the first ballot in either the General Assembly or the Security Council, a second ballot is held, and balloting continues in the same meeting until a candidate has obtained the required majority.

The composition of the Court will now be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parenthesis): Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (2009); Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria) (2006); Thomas Buergenthal (United States) (2006); Carl-August Fleischhauer (Germany) (2003); Gilbert Guillaume (France) (2009); Géza Herczegh (Hungary) (2003); Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom) (2009); Shi Jiuyong (China)(2003); Pieter H. Kooijmans (Netherlands) (2006); Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone) (2003); Shigeru Oda (Japan) (2003); Gonzalo Parra- Aranguren (Venezuela) (2009); Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar) (2009); José F. Rezek (Brazil) (2006); and Vladlen S. Vereshchetin (Russian Federation)(2006).

Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6813 4107th Meeting (PM) 2 March 2000

The Court, located in The Hague, is the United Nations principal judicial organ. It adjudicates disputes between States, and its legal opinions are binding. The Court also gives advisory opinions to the United Nations and the specialized agencies when requested to do so. According to Article 2 of the Statute, judges are to be elected, regardless of their nationality, from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law. Article 9 requires electors to bear in mind that the body as a whole should represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.

The Presidency of the Security Council in March is held by Bangladesh, and today’s meeting was presided over by the country’s Permanent Representative, Anwarul Karim Chowdhury.

The meeting, which began at 5:39, adjourned at 6:14 p.m.

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