10 November 2011
Security Council
SC/10444

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

Security Council

6651st-6655th Meetings (AM & PM)


Security Council, General Assembly Elect Four New Judges to World Court

 


Fifth Vacancy Remains to Be Filled, Pending Concurrent Action by Both Bodies


The Security Council, meeting independently from, but concurrently with, the General Assembly, today elected four judges to the International Court of Justice for nine-year terms, beginning on 6 February 2012, but failed to elect a fifth judge during five rounds of secret balloting.


Out of a list of eight candidates, the Council elected Giorgio Gaja (Italy), Professor of International Law at the University of Florence School of Law;Hisashi Owada (Japan), President of the International Court of Justice;Peter Tomka (Slovakia), Vice-President of the International Court of Justice; and Xue Hanqin (China), Judge at the International Court of Justice.


Under the terms of the Court’s Statute, a candidate obtaining an absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and the Council is considered elected.  In the Security 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 today’s election, 97 votes constituted an absolute majority in the Assembly.  (For General Assembly results, see Press Release GA/11171.)


Because only four candidates received the required majority in both the Council and the Assembly after the first concurrent ballot—Mr. Gaja ( Italy); Mr. Owada ( Japan); Mr. Tomka ( Slovakia); and Mr. Xue ( China)—four new rounds of secret balloting were called in the Council.  Each time, Mr. Koroma Sierra Leone) attained the required majority in the Council, while Ms. Sebutinde ( Uganda) received the required majority in the Assembly.  A sixth round of secret balloting will, therefore, be held concurrently with the Assembly at a date to be announced.


The Court’s composition at 6 February 2012 will be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parentheses): Ronny Abraham (France) (2018); Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (2018); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) (2015); Joan E. Donoghue (United States) (2015); Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) (2018); Giorgio Gaja (Italy) (2021); Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom) (2018); Kenneth Keith (New Zealand) (2015); Hisashi Owada (Japan) (2021); Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor (Mexico) (2015); Xue Hanqin (China)(2021); Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation) (2015); Peter Tomka (Slovakia) (2021); and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) (2018), with one position to be filled.


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


The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and was suspended at 1:20 p.m.  Resuming at 3:10 p.m., it adjourned at 6:07 p.m.


Background


The Security Council met concurrently today with the General Assembly to elect five judges to the International Court of Justice for a nine-year term, beginning on 6 February 2012.


The 15-member Court’s jurisdiction covers all questions referred to it by States, and all matters provided for in the United Nations Charter or in treaties or conventions in force.  It consists of 15 judges elected by the Council and the Assembly, voting independently.  They are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not on the basis of nationality, and care is taken to ensure that the principal legal systems of the world are represented.  No two judges can be from the same country.  Judges serve for a nine-year term and may be re-elected.  They cannot engage in any other occupation during their term of office.


The terms of office of the following five members of the Court will expire on 5 February 2012:  Abdul Koroma ( Sierra Leone); Hisashi Owada ( Japan); Shi Jiuyong ( China); Bruno Simma ( Germany); and Peter Tomka ( Slovakia).


According to a note by the Secretary-General containing a list of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/66/183-S/2011/453), the candidates are:  Gaja, Giorgio (Italy); Kamenova, Tsvetana (Bulgaria); Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone); Owada, Hisashi (Japan); Sebutinde, Julia (Uganda); Tall, El Hadji Mansour (Senegal); Tomka, Peter (Slovakia); and Xue, Hanqin (China).  The curricula vitae of the eight candidates are contained in document A/66/184-S/2011/454.


According to a memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/66/182–S/2011/452), those candidates who obtain an absolute majority of votes both in the Council and in the Assembly will be considered elected.  In the Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority and no distinction is made between permanent and non-permanent members.  Only when five candidates have obtained the required majority in one of the organs does the President of that body notify the President of the other as to the names of the five candidates.


First Round


The results of the first round of voting were as follows:


Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

0

Required majority:

8


Number of votes obtained:


Gaja, Giorgio ( Italy)

13

Kamenova, Tsvetana ( Bulgaria)

4

Koroma, Abdul G. ( Sierra Leone)

10

Owada, Hisashi ( Japan)

14

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

5

Tall, El Hadji Mansour ( Senegal)

1

Tomka, Peter ( Slovakia)

13

Xue, Hanqin ( China)

15


Five candidates obtained the required majority in the Council:  Mr. Gaja ( Italy); Mr. Koroma ( Sierra Leone); Mr. Owada ( Japan); Mr. Tomka ( Slovakia); and Mr. Xue ( China).


The Council President, José Filipe Moraes Cabral ( Portugal), announced that the General Assembly had elected four candidates:  Mr. Gaja ( Italy); Mr. Owada ( Japan); Mr. Tomka ( Slovakia); and Mr. Xue ( China).  As they had obtained the required majority in both the Council and the Assembly, they were elected to the International Court of Justice for a term of nine years.


Because only four candidates had been elected in both chambers, a second round of balloting was needed.


Second Round


Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

0

Required majority:

8


Number of votes obtained:


Koroma, Abdul G. ( Sierra Leone)

10

Kamenova, Tsvetana ( Bulgaria)

2

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

3

Tall, El Hadji Mansour ( Senegal)

0


Mr. Koroma ( Sierra Leone) received the required majority.


The President of the Council announced that he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that Ms. Sebutinde ( Uganda) had obtained the required majority.  Accordingly, no candidate had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly.  A new round of balloting was, therefore, required.


The Council was also informed that Ms. Kamenova and Mr. Tall had withdrawn their candidacy.


Third Round


Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

0

Required majority:

8


Number of votes obtained:


Koroma, Abdul G. ( Sierra Leone)

8

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

7


Mr. Koroma ( Sierra Leone) once again received the required majority in the Council.


Council members were informed that Ms. Sebutinde ( Uganda) had obtained the required majority in the General Assembly.  Accordingly, no candidate had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly.  A fourth round of balloting was, therefore, required.


Fourth Round


Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

0

Required majority:

8


Number of votes obtained:


Koroma, Abdul G. ( Sierra Leone)

9

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

6


Mr. Koroma ( Sierra Leone) once again received the required majority in the Council.


Council members were informed that Ms. Sebutinde ( Uganda) had obtained the required majority in the General Assembly.  Accordingly, no candidate had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly.  A fifth round of balloting was, therefore, required.


Fifth Round


Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

0

Required majority:

8


Number of votes obtained:


Koroma, Abdul G. ( Sierra Leone)

9

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

6


Mr. Koroma ( Sierra Leone) once again received the required majority in the Council.


Council members were informed that Ms. Sebutinde ( Uganda) had obtained the required majority in the General Assembly.  Accordingly, no candidate had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly.  A fifth round of balloting was, therefore, required.


Due to the lateness of the hour, both the Council and the Assembly adjourned the meeting.  A sixth ballot would be held at a date to be announced later.


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For information media • not an official record