GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CONCURRENTLY WITH SECURITY COUNCIL, ELECTS FIVE MEMBERS TO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

7 November 2005
GA/10416

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, CONCURRENTLY WITH SECURITY COUNCIL, ELECTS FIVE MEMBERS TO INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

7/11/2005
General Assembly
GA/10416
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixtieth General Assembly

Plenary

44th Meeting (AM & PM)

 

General Assembly, concurrently with security council, elects five members

to international court of justice

The General Assembly today elected five judges to the International Court of Justice in four rounds of balloting, filling vacancies for terms of office that will expire on 5 February 2006.

Leonid Skotnikov ( Russian Federation), Kenneth Keith ( New Zealand), and Mohamed Bennouna ( Morocco) will sit at the Court for the first time.  Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor ( Mexico) was a former ad litem judge.  Thomas Buergenthal ( United States) was re-elected.  All five will begin their new nine-year terms on 6 February 2006.

The election in the Assembly was held concurrently with one in the Security Council.  The Council required six rounds of secret balloting today, by the end of which the same five judges had obtained the required absolute majority.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice consists of 15 judges who are elected, regardless of their nationality, from among persons of high moral character, who possess qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are juriconsults of recognized competence in international law.  The Court is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

As of 5 February 2006, the remaining 10 judges at the Court whose terms of office are still valid (with the dates that their terms expire) will be: Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (2009); Ronny Abraham (France) (2009); Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom) (2009); Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone) (2012); Hisashi Owada (Japan) (2012); Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren (Venezuela) (2009); Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar) (2009); Shi Jiuyong (China) (2012), President; Bruno Simma (Germany) (2012); Peter Tomka (Slovakia) (2012).

The Assembly will meet again tomorrow, 8 November, at 10 a.m. to take up the necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo by the United States against Cuba.

Background

The General Assembly met today, concurrently with the Security Council, to elect five judges to the International Court of Justice for a term of nine years, beginning on 6 February 2006, in conformity with Articles 4 and 13 of the Statute of the Court.

The terms of office of the following five members of the Court will expire on 5 February 2006:  Thomas Buergenthal ( United States); Nabil Elaraby ( Egypt); Pieter H. Kooijmans ( Netherlands); Francisco Rezek ( Brazil); and Vladlen S. Vereshchetin ( Russian Federation).

The International Court of Justice, based at The Hague, Netherlands, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.  It settles legal disputes between States parties and gives advisory opinions to the Organization and its specialized agencies.  The Court is open to all parties to its Statute, which automatically includes all members of the United Nations.

The Court’s jurisdiction covers all questions referred to it by States, and all matters provided for in the 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 principle 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.

Candidates for election as judges are:  Abdelfattah Amor ( Tunisia); Mohamed Bennouna ( Morocco); Thomas Buergenthal ( United States); Julio D. González Campos ( Spain); Kenneth Keith ( New Zealand); Seidou Adamou Mazou ( Niger); Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor ( Mexico); Leonid Skotnikov ( Russian Federation).  (See document A/60/187 and Corr.1 and Add.1.)

Article 4 of the Court’s Statute provides that members of the Court shall be elected by the Security Council and the General Assembly from a list of persons nominated by the national groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The curricula vitae of the candidates nominated by the national groups are contained in a note by the Secretary-General (document A/60/188 and Corr.1.)

Judges whose terms of office have not expired and who remain on the Court are:  Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan); Ronny Abraham (France); Rosalyn Higgins ( United Kingdom); Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone); Hisashi Owada ( Japan); Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren ( Venezuela); Raymond Ranjeva ( Madagascar), Vice-President; Shi Jiuyong ( China), President; Bruno Simma ( Germany); and Peter Tomka ( Slovakia).  Their terms of office will expire on 5 February 2009 and 2012.

A memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/60/186) describes the procedure for the election of judges in the Council and the Assembly.  It states that on the date of the election, 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.  The electors in the Assembly are all 191 Member States and, thus, 96 votes constitute an absolute majority.

If in the first ballot in either organ the number of candidates obtaining an absolute majority is less than five, a second ballot will be held.  Balloting will continue until five candidates have obtained the required majority.  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.  The President of the latter should not communicate such names to the members of that organ until that organ has itself given five candidates the required majority of votes.

If, upon comparison of the respective lists of names that have obtained an absolute majority in the two organs, fewer than five candidates have been elected, the Assembly and the Council will proceed, again independently of each other, “in a second meeting and, if necessary, a third meeting to elect candidates by further ballots for seats remaining vacant”.  The results will again be compared after the required number of candidates have obtained an absolute majority in each organ.

If, however, after the third meeting, one or more seats still have to be filled, the Assembly and the Council may at any time, at each other’s request, form a joint conference consisting of six members from each organ.  That conference may, by an absolute majority, agree on one name for each seat still vacant and submit that name for the respective acceptance of both organs.

The memorandum concludes:  “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 Council, proceed to fill the vacant seat or seats by selection from among those candidates who have obtained votes either in the Assembly or in the Council.”  In the event of an equality of votes among the judges, the eldest shall have a casting vote.

Assembly Action

Before the election began, the Assembly was informed that Seidou Adamou Mazou ( Niger) no longer wished to be considered as candidates.

Election of Judges

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

Number of ballot papers

190

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

190

Abstentions

0

Number of members voting

190

Required majority

96

Number of votes obtained

Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor

147

Leonid Skotnikov

145

Kenneth Keith

143

Thomas Buergenthal

141

Mohamed Bennouna

138

Julio D. González Campos

125

Abdelfattah Amor

82

With six candidates receiving an absolute majority, the Assembly held a second secret ballot. 

Second Round of Voting

The results of the second round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers

186

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

186

Abstentions

0

Number of members voting

186

Required majority

96

Number of votes obtained

Leonid Skotnikov

151

Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor

150

Kenneth Keith

147

Mohamed Bennouna

138

Thomas Buergenthal

136

Julio D. González Campos

115

Abdelfattah Amor

47

Again with six candidates having received an absolute majority, the Assembly proceeded to hold a third secret ballot.

Third Round of Voting

Prior to the Assembly’s action, the Vice-President informed members that the nominating countries, Sweden and Tunisia, had withdrawn Abdelfattah Amor’s name from the candidature.

The results of the third round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers

190

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

190

Abstentions

0

Number of members voting

190

Required majority

96

Number of votes obtained

Mohamed Bennouna

165

Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor

159

Leonid Skotnikov

156

Kenneth Keith

153

Thomas Buergenthal

139

Julio D. González Campos

107

Again with six candidates having received an absolute majority, the Assembly proceeded to hold a fourth secret ballot.

Fourth Round of Voting

The results of the fourth round of balloting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers

189

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

189

Abstentions

0

Number of members voting

189

Required majority

96

Number of votes obtained

Mohamed Bennouna

158

Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor

158

Kenneth Keith

149

Leonid Skotnikov

145

Thomas Buergenthal

134

Julio D. González Campos

89

The following candidates received an absolute majority in the General Assembly:  Mohamed Bennouna, Thomas Buergenthal, Kenneth Keith, Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor, and Leonid Skotnikov.

The President informed members that he had received a letter from the President of the Security Council informing him that Mohamed Bennouna, Thomas Buergenthal, Kenneth Keith, Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor, and Leonid Skotnikov had obtained an absolute majority in the voting conducted by the Council.

Having received an absolute majority in both the Assembly and the Council, Mohamed Bennouna, Thomas Buergenthal, Kenneth Keith, Bernardo Sepúlveda Amor, and Leonid Skotnikov were elected to serve nine-year terms as judges on the International Court of Justice beginning on 6 February 2006.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.