United Nations

A/50/865-S/1996/51


General Assembly
Security Council

Distr. GENERAL  

24 January 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


GENERAL ASSEMBLY  SECURITY COUNCIL
Fiftieth session  Fifty-first year
Agenda item 15 (c)
ELECTIONS TO FILL VACANCIES IN
  PRINCIPAL ORGANS:  ELECTION
  OF A MEMBER OF THE
  INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE


Memorandum by the Secretary-General


CONTENTS

  Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................1 - 52

II.  COMPOSITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE .... 63

III.  PROCEDURE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND IN THE SECURITY
      COUNCIL ..............................................7 - 203




















  I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   By  a  letter  dated 24  October  1995,  the Deputy  Registrar  of  the
International Court  of Justice informed  the Secretary-General of the death
of  Judge Andres  Aguilar  Mawdsley  (Venezuela)  on that  date  and of  the
resulting occurrence of  a vacancy  in the  Court.   Judge Aguilar  Mawdsley
became  a member of the Court on 6 February 1991.   His term of office would
have ended on 5  February 2000.   According to Article 14 of the  Statute of
the Court, the vacancy shall be filled by  the same method as that laid down
for the regular election and the  Secretary-General shall, within one  month
of the occurrence
of the  vacancy,  issue the  invitations  for  nominations provided  for  in
Article 5. According to  Article 5, the invitations for nominations have  to
be made at  least three months before the  date of the election which shall,
pursuant to Article 14, be fixed by the Security Council.

2.   By  a note  dated  1 November  1995 addressed  to the  Security Council
(S/1995/914), the Secretary-General drew its attention  to Article 14 of the
Statute of  the Court regarding fixing the  date of the election to fill the
vacancy in the International  Court of Justice.   Pursuant to Article 14  of
the Statute of the  Court, the Security  Council decided by resolution  1018
(1995) of 7 November  1995 that the election to fill the vacancy should take
place on 28 February  1996, at a meeting  of the  Security Council and at  a
meeting of the General  Assembly at its fiftieth session.  Pursuant to  rule
15 of its  rules of procedure,  the General  Assembly, at  its 77th  plenary
meeting,  held on 1 December 1995,  decided to include in the  agenda of its
fiftieth session  an additional  item  as  sub-item (c)  of agenda  item  15
(Elections  to  fill vacancies  in  principal  organs), reading  as follows:
"Election of  a member of the International Court of  Justice" (A/50/237 and
A/50/PV.77).

3.   Pursuant to  Article 5, paragraph 1,  of the Statute of  the Court, the
Secretary-General, in a  communication dated 20  November 1995,  invited the
national groups of States parties to the Statute  of the Court to  undertake
the nomination of persons in a position to accept the duties of a member  of
the Court.   The Secretary-General further requested that nominations should
be  received  no later  than 2  February 1996.   A  list of  the nominations
(A/50/866S/1996/52)  received by that  date and  the curricula  vitae of the
candidates (A/50/867-S/1996/53)  will be  transmitted in separate  documents
to  the General  Assembly  and the  Security  Council.    The names  of  the
candidates will  appear on the  ballot papers to  be distributed during  the
election.

4.   Article 15  of the Statute of  the Court provides that  a member of the
Court elected  to replace  a member  whose term  of office  has not  expired
shall hold office for the remainder of his  predecessor's term.  The  member
elected  to replace  Judge Andres Aguilar  Mawdsley will thus  serve until 5
February 2000.

5.   The present  composition of the Court and  the procedure in the General
Assembly and  the Security  Council for  filling the  vacancy are  described
below.




 II.  COMPOSITION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

6.   The present  composition of  the International  Court of Justice  is as
follows:

  President:  Mr. Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria)*

  Vice President:  Mr. Stephen M. Schwebel (United States of America)*

  Judges:  Shigeru Oda (Japan)***
        Gilbert Guillaume (France)**
        Mohammed Shahabuddeen (Guyana)*
        Christopher G. Weeramantry (Sri Lanka)**
        Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar)**
        Geza Herczegh (Hungary)***
        Shi Jiuyong (China)***
        Carl-August Fleischhauer (Germany)***
        Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone)***
        Vladlen S. Vereshchetin (Russian Federation)*
        Luigi Ferrari Bravo (Italy)*
        Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
                Ireland)**

  ________________________

    *  Term of office expires on 5 February 1997.

    **  Term of office expires on 5 February 2000.

    ***  Term of office expires on 5 February 2003.


                  III.  PROCEDURE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND IN
                        THE SECURITY COUNCIL

7.    The  election  will  take  place  in  accordance  with  the  following
provisions:

  (a)  The Statute of the Court, in particular Articles 2 to 4, 7 to 12  and
14;

  (b)  Rules 150 and 151 of the rules of procedure of the General Assembly;

  (c)   Rules  40  and 61  of  the  provisional rules  of  procedure of  the
Security Council.

8.  In  accordance with General Assembly resolution  264 (III) of 8  October
1948, Nauru and Switzerland, which are parties to  the Statute of the  Court
but not Members of  the United Nations, have  been invited to participate in
the General Assembly in electing members of the Court in the  same manner as
the States Members of the United Nations.

 9.   On the date  of the election,  the General Assembly  and the  Security
Council  will proceed, independently  of one  another, to elect  a member of
the Court to fill the vacancy (Article 8 of the Statute).

10.   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  not only  that the person to  be elected
should individually  possess the qualifications required,  but also that  in
the  body as a  whole the  representation of the main  forms of civilization
and of the principal legal systems of the world should be assured.

11.   The candidate who  obtains an  absolute majority of votes  both in the
General Assembly and in  the Security Council will be considered as  elected
(Article 10, paragraph 1, of the Statute).

12.   The consistent practice of  the United Nations  has been to  interpret
the words "absolute majority"  as meaning a majority of  all electors.   The
electors  in the General Assembly  are all 185 Member  States, together with
the two non-member  States mentioned in paragraph  8 above that are  parties
to the Statute of  the Court.   Accordingly, as at  the date of the  present

memorandum, 94  votes constitutes an absolute  majority in  the Assembly for
the purpose of the Court election.

13.  In the  Security Council, eight votes constitutes an absolute  majority
and no  distinction is made between  permanent and  non-permanent members of
the Council (Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Statute).

14.   Only those  candidates whose  names appear  on the  ballot papers  are
eligible for election.   The electors  in the  General Assembly  and in  the
Security Council will indicate  the candidate for whom  they wish to vote by
placing a  cross against  the name  on the ballot  paper.  Each  elector may
vote for only one candidate. 

15.   At the 915th plenary  meeting of the  General Assembly, on 16 November
1960, a procedural discussion  took place as to  whether rule 94  (then rule
96)  of  the  rules  of  procedure  of the  Assembly  should  be  applied in
elections to  the International  Court of Justice.   That rule  lays down  a
procedure for restricted ballots in  the event that, after the first ballot,
the requisite number of candidates have  not obtained the required majority.
The Assembly  decided that the rule did not apply to  elections to the Court
and it  proceeded to elect the requisite number of candidates by a series of
unrestricted ballots.  That decision has been followed consistently.

16.  If in  the first ballot in either  the General Assembly or the Security
Council no candidate receives an absolute majority, a  second ballot will be
held and balloting will  continue in the same meeting until a candidate  has
obtained the required majority  (rule 151 of the  rules of procedure  of the
Assembly and rule 61 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Council).

 17.   Cases have  arisen in  the Security  Council in  which more  than the
required number  of candidates  have obtained  an absolute  majority on  the
same ballot.   The practice followed by the  Council has been  to hold a new
vote on all the candidates, and for the President of the Council  to make no
notification  to  the President  of  the  General  Assembly  until only  the
required number  of  candidates, and  no  more,  have obtained  an  absolute
majority in the Council.

18.   When a candidate  has obtained  the required  majority in  one of  the
organs, the President of that organ will notify  the President of the  other
organ of the name  of that candidate.  Such notification is not communicated
by the President of  the second organ to  the members until  that organ  has
itself given a candidate the required majority of votes.

19.   If, upon comparison of  the name of the  candidate so selected by  the
General Assembly and by  the Security Council, it  is found that  the result
is   different,   the  Assembly   and  the   Council  will   proceed,  again
independently of each other, in a second meeting and, if necessary, a  third
meeting, to elect one candidate by further ballots, the results again  being
compared  after one  candidate has  obtained  an  absolute majority  in each
organ.    If  necessary,  the above  procedure  will be  repeated  until the
General Assembly  and the Security Council  have given  an absolute majority
of votes to the same candidate.

20.    If, however,  after  the  third meeting  the  vacancy  still  remains
unfilled, the special  procedure set out in Article 12 of the Statute of the
Court may be  resorted to at the request  of either the  General Assembly or
the Security Council.


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