UN World Court elects President and Vice-President for three-year terms

Judge Peter Tomka. Photo: ICJ

6 February 2012 – The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, today elected a new President and Vice-President, who will each serve a term of three years.

Judge Peter Tomka (Slovakia) was elected as President and Judge Bernardo Sepúlveda-Amor (Mexico) as Vice-President of the tribunal, which was established in 1945 and is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.

The ICJ, often referred to as the World Court, settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorized UN organs. It currently has 13 cases on its docket.

The Security Council recently decided to hold concurrent elections along with the General Assembly on 27 April to elect a successor to Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan), who resigned from the 15-member court in December 2011.

According to the court’s statute, its judges must be chosen by coordinated actions of both the Council and the Assembly, with the date of elections determined by the Council. Judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not their nationality, but no two judges can be from the same country.

Also today, the judges at the ICJ elected the members of the chamber of summary procedure, the budgetary and administrative committee and two other committees of the court.


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