9 September 2010
Security Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6381st Meeting* (AM)

Security Council Elects Joan E. Donoghue of United States to International Court


of Justice, in Tandem with General Assembly, to Serve Until 5 February 2015


In a vote held simultaneously with the General Assembly, the Security Council today elected Joan E. Donoghue of the United States, by secret ballot, to the International Court of Justice to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by the resignation of Judge Thomas Buergenthal of the United States (see documents S/2010/442 and S/2010/443).  She will serve until 5 February 2015.

Ms. Donoghue currently serves as Principal Deputy Legal Advisor in the United States Department of State.  As a senior career attorney, her duties included advising Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama on all aspects of international law and advising on the drafting, negotiation and implementation of resolutions of the Security Council, General Assembly and other United Nations bodies, among others (for more information, see document S/2010/444).

In the course of their separate meetings, the two bodies — the Security Council and General Assembly — exchanged information about the results of their respective votes, revealing that Ms. Donoghue received an absolute majority of votes in both organs — 15 votes in the case of the Council.

According to the rules of procedure, members of the International Court are elected by both the General Assembly and Security Council, acting independently of one another.  When a candidate has obtained the required majority in one of the organs, the President of that organ notifies the President of the other of that result.  If the result is different, the Assembly and Council continue voting, up to three times if necessary, until both bodies have given an absolute majority of votes to the same candidate.

If, after the third meeting, the vacancy still remains unfilled, Member States may resort to a special procedure set out in the Statute of the Court, at the request of either the Assembly or the Council.

The meeting began at 11:30 a.m., was suspended at 12:04 p.m. for counting, resumed at 12:30 p.m. and ended at 12:35 p.m.

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*     The 6380th Meeting was closed.

For information media • not an official record