SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES CONCURRENTLY WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ELECT GONZALO PARRA-ARANGUREN OF VENEZUELA TO WORLD COURT

28 February 1996
SC/6184

SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES CONCURRENTLY WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ELECT GONZALO PARRA-ARANGUREN OF VENEZUELA TO WORLD COURT

28 February 1996

Press ReleaseSC/6184

SECURITY COUNCIL VOTES CONCURRENTLY WITH GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO ELECT GONZALO PARRA-ARANGUREN OF VENEZUELA TO WORLD COURT

19960228 The Security Council, voting concurrently with the General Assembly, this morning elected Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren of Venezuela to the International Court of Justice.

Mr. Parra-Aranguren, whose term will expire on 5 February 2000, was elected in the first round of secret balloting in the Council, receiving nine votes -- an absolute majority of eight votes is required for election. He will fill the seat left vacant by the death of Judge Andres Aguillar Mawdsley of Venezuela.

Elections to the Court require an absolute majority in both the Council and the Assembly. In the Assembly, which voted independently, Mr. Parra- Aranguren obtained 97 votes in the second ballot. The required majority was 94. The other candidates for today's election were Julio A. Barberis of Argentina and Francisco Villagran Kramer of Guatemala.

Mr. Parra-Aranguren, a distinguished jurist, has been a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague since 1985. He was a member of the legislative committees that drafted a section of the Venezuelan Constitution dealing with nationality. He has represented Venezuela at a number of sessions of The Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Mr. Parra-Aranguren began his legal career as a professor at the Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, where he has been teaching a course in private international law since 1956. He was a judge in the Second Court of First Instance (commercial matters), in Caracas from 1958 to 1971; and was first associate judge in the Chamber of Cessation (civil, commercial and labour matters) of the Supreme Court of Justice from 1988 to 1992. Then in 1992, he was elected alternate judge. He has published several books and numerous articles on such issues as the law of nationality, private international law and international civil procedural law.

Mr. Parra-Aranguren was nominated by the national group of Ecuador, Italy and Venezuela.

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Candidates and Election Procedure of World Court

The Security Council, meeting concurrently with the General Assembly this morning, will elect a member of the International Court of Justice to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Judge Andres Aguilar Mawdsley, of Venezuela, on 24 October 1995. In accordance with the Statute of the International Court, the person elected to fill the vacancy will serve for the remainder of Judge Mawdsley's term, which would have ended on 5 February 2000. Judges on the International Court hold nine-year terms.

The candidates for election are Julio A. Barberis, of Argentina, nominated by the national group of Argentina, Bulgaria, Colombia, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Paraguay, Poland and Switzerland; Gonzalo Parra- Aranguren, of Venezuela, nominated by the national group of Ecuador, Italy and Venezuela; and Francisco Villagran Kramer, of Guatemala, nominated by the national group of Guatemala and Mexico.

Article 2 of the Statute of the Court states that 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. According to a note of the Secretary-General (document A/50/866-A/1996/52), invitations were extended to national groups of States parties to the Statute to nominate candidates for the position not later than 2 February 1996.

Another note by the Secretary-General (document A/50/867) contains the curricula vitae of the candidates. Mr. Barberis, a Professor at the Faculty of Law of the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, is also a Judge at the International Labour Organization (ILO) Administrative Tribunal (Geneva), as well as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (The Hague), of the International Law Institute and of the Spanish-Portuguese-American Institute of International Law, Madrid.

Mr. Barberis served as Argentina's representative at numerous negotiations and international conferences on the use of international rivers, environmental protection and the exploitation of natural resources. He was a consultant at the Institute for Latin American Integration and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the 1970s; legal adviser to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and to the United Nations on questions relating to international water resources. He is a member of the International Council of Environmental Law (Bonn) and of the International Association for Water Law (Rome).

Mr. Barberis taught at The Hague Academy of International Law from 1983 and 1992, Institute for Advanced International Studies of the University of Paris II in 1986 and 1991, and Inter-American Juridical Committee of the

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Organization of American States, Rio de Janeiro, in 1986. He was Director of the Research Centre of The Hague Academy of International Law in 1990. A co- editor of the journal Environmental Policy and Law in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1994, Mr. Barberis has published extensively.

Mr. Parra-Aranguren has been a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague since 1985, of the legal advisory committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, since 1984, and of the legal advisory council of the National Congress (designated in 1990).

He was a member of the legislative committees that drafted the section on Venezuelan nationality for the country's Constitution that was approved in 1961, and of the committee that revised sections of the Code of Commerce dealing with credit instruments and bankruptcy (1963-1965). He participated in the drafting of the law on regulations pertaining to private international law (1963) and its revision two years later. He has represented Venezuela at a number of sessions of The Hague Conference on Private International Law.

Mr. Parra-Aranguren began his legal career as a professor at the Central University of Venezuela, Caracas, where he has been teaching a course in private international law since 1956. He has also taught the same course at Andres Bello Catholic University in Caracas since 1957. He was a judge in the Second Court of First Instance (commercial matters), in Caracas (1958-1971); and was first associate judge in the Chamber of Cessation (civil, commercial and labour matters) of the Supreme Court of Justice (1988-1992). Then in 1992, he was elected alternate judge. He has acted as arbitrator, both in Venezuela and abroad, and on several occasions testified in foreign courts as an expert on Venezuelan law. He has published several books and numerous articles on such issues as the law of nationality, private international law and international civil procedural law.

Mr. Villagran Kramer, a former Vice-President of Guatemala (1978-1980) and former President of the Council of State (1978-1980), has been a member of the International Law Commission of the United Nations since 1992. He was a member of its working group on the draft statute of the international criminal court (1993-1994), Vice-President of the Commission (1994-1995) and its rapporteur in 1995. He has been a member of the national study group on specific international problems of the Guatemala Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1994. He has participated in meetings and conferences on analysis of bilateral and multilateral problems in many countries in Central America and Europe.

Mr. Villagran Kramer's professional activities include consultancies for the United Nations and the Permanent Secretariat of the General Treaty on Central American Integration. He was also a consultant for the Andean Board of the Cartagena Agreement on the establishment of the Andean Tribunal in Lima (1972-1973). He has taught international law and international economic law

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in a number of universities and institutions in Venezuela, Belgium, Brazil and Italy.

The procedure for the election, which is outlined in a memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/50/865-S/1996/51), calls for the General Assembly and the Security Council on the date specified for the election to proceed independently of one another to elect members of the Court. The candidate who obtains an absolute majority of votes, both in the Assembly and the Council, is considered as elected.

The memorandum points out that 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 the Member States, together with Nauru and Switzerland. Accordingly, in the Assembly, 94 votes constitute an absolute majority for the purpose of the election. In the Security Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority, and no distinction is made between the votes of permanent and non- permanent members. The memorandum states that, in accordance with Assembly resolution 264 (III) of 8 October 1948, Nauru and Switzerland, which are parties to the Statute of the Court, although not Member States of the United Nations, participate in the Assembly in electing members of the Court in the same manner as United Nations Members.

On the voting procedure, it states that if in the first ballot in either the Assembly or the Council no candidate obtains an absolute majority, a second ballot will be held, with balloting continuing in the same meeting until a candidate obtains the required majority. After a candidate obtains the required majority in one of the organs, the President of that organ will notify the President of the other organ of the candidate's name. 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.

If, upon comparison of the name of the candidate so selected by the Assembly and the Council, it is found that the result is different, the two organs 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 procedure will be repeated until both organs have given an absolute majority of votes to the same candidate.

The memorandum concludes that 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. Article 12 provides for the formation of a joint conference, consisting of three members from each organ, to agree on a candidate to be submitted to the Assembly and the Council for

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acceptance. If the joint conference is satisfied that it will not be successful in procuring an election, those members of the Court who have already been elected shall, within a period to be fixed by the Security Council, proceed to fill the vacant seats by selection from among those candidates who have obtained votes either in the General Assembly or in the Security Council. In the event of an equality of votes among the judges, "the eldest judge shall have a casting vote".

The International Court currently consists of the following 14 members whose terms end on 5 February of the year indicated: Mohammed Bedjaoui, of Algeria (1997) (President); Stephen M. Schwebel, of the United States (1997) (Vice-President); Shigeru Oda, of Japan (2003); Gilbert Guillaume, of France (2000); Mohammed Shahabuddeen, of Guyana (1997); Christopher G. Weeramantry, of Sri Lanka (2000); Raymond Ranjeva, of Madagascar (2000); Géza Herczegh, of Hungary (2003); Shi Jiuyong, of China (2003); Carl-August Fleischhauer, of Germany (2003); Abdul G. Koroma, of Sierra Leone (2003); Vladlen S. Vereshchetin, of the Russian Federation (1997); Luigi Ferrari Bravo, of Italy (1997); and Rosalyn Higgins, of the United Kingdom (2000).

Election of Member of Court

The President of the Security Council, MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT (United States), drew the names of Guinea-Bissau and Germany as tellers, and the Council proceeded to its first secret ballot in the election to fill a vacancy on the International Court of Justice.

She reminded the Council that, as agreed in consultations, the ballots would not be counted until it had been verified that the ballot papers in the General Assembly had been collected. She said the Council would remain in session pending the receipt of that information.

The PRESIDENT announced the results of the vote as follows:

Number of ballot papers: 15 Number of invalid ballots: 0 Number of valid ballots: 0 Required majority: 8

Number of ballots obtained:

Julio A. Barberis 5 Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren 9 Francisco Villagran Kramer 1

The President then declared that Mr. Parra-Aranguren had obtained the required majority in the Council.

The President said she would communicate the results of the Council's voting to the President of the General Assembly and requested that Council

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remain in session until the President of the Assembly informed the Council of the results of its voting.

At 1:17 p.m., the President informed the Council that she had received a letter from the General Assembly indicating that Mr. Parra-Aranguren had received an absolute majority in the voting there.

As a result of the independent voting in the Security Council and the General Assembly, the President said Mr. Parra-Aranguren was elected as a member of the International Court of Justice for a term of office expiring on 5 February 2000.

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For information media. Not an official record.