22 November 2011
Security Council
SC/10456

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

Security Council

6665th-6667th Meeting (PM)


Security Council Holds Three More Rounds of Balloting in Attempt to Break Deadlock


with General Assembly over Fifth Slot on International Court of Justice

 


Today, the Security Council, meeting concurrently with, but independently from, the General Assembly, once again failed in three rounds of balloting to elect a fifth Judge to the International Court of Justice.


After having elected four Judges on 10 November, the Security Council and the General Assembly had before them two candidates:  Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone), currently a Judge of the International Court of Justice; and Julia Sebutinde (Uganda), Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber 2 of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.


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. 


There had been eight candidates, including four incumbents, for the five positions.  On 10 November, the Council and the General Assembly 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.  They failed to fill the fifth available position in subsequent rounds of balloting.  The Council repeatedly elected Mr. Koroma and the Assembly continued to choose Mr. Sebutinde.  That pattern continued throughout today’s meetings.


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 (2021); Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom) (2018); Kenneth Keith (New Zealand) (2015); Hisashi Owada (2021); Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor (Mexico) (2015); Xue Hanqin (2021); Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation) (2015); Peter Tomka (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.  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; Hisashi Owada; Shi Jiuyong (China); Bruno Simma (Germany); and Peter Tomka.


The curricula vitae of the candidates are contained in document A/66/184-S/2011/454.


The Council and the Assembly will meet again at a date to be announced to continue elections for five judges for the International Court of Justice.


The first meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and was adjourned at 4:30 a.m.  The next meeting was called to order at 4:31 p.m.and adjourned at 5:30 p.m.  A third began at 5:31 p.m. and ended at 6 p.m.


Background


The Security Council met this afternoon concurrently with, but independently from, the General Assembly to continue its election of five members of the International Court of Justice.  On 10 November, in five rounds of secret balloting, the Council, and in seven rounds, the General Assembly, elected four members, but were unable to elect the fifth.  For further background, see Press Releases SC/10444 and GA/11171.  For General Assembly results, see Press Release GA/11178.


Sixth Round of Balloting


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:


Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone)

9

Julie Sebutinde (Uganda)

6


Mr. Koroma achieved the required Security Council majority.  The Council, however, was informed that Ms. Sebutinde received the required majority in the General Assembly.  As neither candidate had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly, a next round of secret balloting, therefore, was required.


Seventh Round of Balloting


Number of ballot paper

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Number of abstentions

0

Required majority

8


Number of votes obtained:


Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone)

8

Julie Sebutinde ( Uganda)

7


The Council was informed that in the General Assembly, Ms. Sebutinde had acquired the required majority.  As neither of the two candidates had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly, the Council proceeded to hold an eighth round of secret balloting.


Eighth Round of Secret Balloting


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:


Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone)

8

Julie Sebutinde (Uganda)

7


Mr. Koroma had obtained the required majority in the Council.  The Council was informed that Ms. Sebutinde had acquired the required majority in the General Assembly.   As neither of the two candidates had received the required majority in both the Council and the General Assembly, a next round of balloting was required. 


Due to the lateness of the hour, the Council and the Assembly adjourned the meeting.  The ninth ballot would be held at a date and time to be announced.


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For information media • not an official record