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

7 November 2005
SC/8549

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

07/11/2005
Security Council
SC/8549
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5299th Meeting (AM & PM)

security council, acting concurrently with general assembly,

elects five members to international court of justice

 

The Security Council today, meeting independently but concurrently with the General Assembly, elected Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco), Thomas Buergenthal (United States), Kenneth Keith (New Zealand), Bernardo Sepulveda Amor (Mexico) and Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation) to serve as judges on the International Court of Justice for nine-year terms, beginning on 6 February 2006.

The candidates were elected by the Council in six rounds of secret balloting.  Julio D. Gonzalez Campos ( Spain) was not elected.  Before proceeding to the first round of voting this morning, Council President Andrey Denisov ( Russian Federation) announced that Seidou Adamou Mazou ( Niger) had withdrawn his candidacy.  Prior to its third round of balloting this afternoon, the Council was informed that Abdelfattah Amor ( Tunisia) had withdrawn his candidacy.  Thomas Buergenthal ( United States) was re-elected.

Under the terms of the Court’s Statute, the candidate who obtains an absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and in 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 members of the Council.  The electors in the General Assembly are all 191 Member States.  Accordingly, for the purpose of today’s election, 96 votes constitute an absolute majority in the Assembly.

The composition of the Court will now be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parenthesis):  Ronny Abraham (France) (2009); Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (2009); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) (2015); Thomas Buergenthal (United States) (2015); Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom) (2009); Shi Jiuyong (China) (2012); Kenneth Keith (New Zealand) (2015); Abdul Koroma (Sierra Leone) (2012); Hisashi Owada (Japan) (2012); Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren (Venezuela) (2009); Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar) (2009); Bernardo Sepulveda Amor (Mexico) (2015); Bruno Simms (Germany) (2012); Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation) (2015); and Peter Tomka (Slovakia) (2012).

Located in The Hague, the Court is the principal United Nations judicial organ.  It adjudicates between States, and its legal opinions are binding.  The Court also gives advisory opinions to the United Nations and the specialized agencies when requested to do so.

The meeting began at 10:17 a.m., suspended at 1:08 p.m., resumed at 3:14 p.m. and adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

Background

The Security Council met simultaneously today with the General Assembly to elect five judges to the International Court of Justice for a nine-year term, 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 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 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.

Candidates for election as judges were:  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 S/2005/447 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 S/2005/448 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 S/2005/446) 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.

Action by Council

Before proceeding to the first round of secret balloting, the Council’s President for November, Andrey Denisov ( Russian Federation) informed the Council that Seidou Adamou Mazou ( Niger) had withdrawn his candidacy.

Election of Judges

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

Number of ballot papers

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Required majority

8

Number of votes obtained:

Abdelfattah Amor

2

Mohamed Bennouna

13

Thomas Buergenthal

14

Julio D. Gonzalez Campos

9

Kenneth Keith

9

Bernardo Sepulveda Amor

14

Leonid Skotnikov

14

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

Number of ballot papers

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Required majority

8

Number of votes obtained:

Abdelfattah Amor

2

Mohamed Bennouna

12

Thomas Buergenthal

14

Julio D. Gonzalez Campos

9

Kenneth Keith

8

Bernardo Sepulveda Amor

13

Leonid Skotnikov

13

Before proceeding to a third round of secret balloting, the Council’s President, Mr. Denisov ( Russian Federation), announced that Abdelfattah Amor ( Tunisia) had withdrawn his candidacy.

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

Number of ballot papers

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Required majority

8

Number of votes obtained:

Mohamed Bennouna

12

Thomas Buergenthal

14

Julio D. Gonzalez Campos

9

Kenneth Keith

10

Bernardo Sepulveda Amor

13

Leonid Skotnikov

13

The results of the fourth round of secret voting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Required majority

8

Number of votes obtained:

Mohamed Bennouna

11

Thomas Buergenthal

14

Julio D. Gonzalez Campos

10

Kenneth Keith

10

Bernardo Sepulveda Amor

12

Leonid Skotnikov

13

The results of the fifth round of secret voting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Required majority

8

Number of votes obtained:

Mohamed Bennouna

11

Thomas Buergenthal

13

Julio D. Gonzalez Campos

8

Kenneth Keith

11

Bernardo Sepulveda Amor

12

Leonid Skotnikov

13

The results of the sixth round of secret voting were as follows:

Number of ballot papers

15

Number of invalid ballots

0

Number of valid ballots

15

Required majority

8

Number of votes obtained:

Mohamed Bennouna

12

Thomas Buergenthal

13

Julio D. Gonzalez Campos

7

Kenneth Keith

11

Bernardo Sepulveda Amor

12

Leonid Skotnikov

13

The following five candidates had obtained an absolute majority in the Council:  Mohamed Bennouna ( Morocco); Thomas Buergenthal ( United States); Kenneth Keith ( New Zealand); Bernardo Sepulveda Amor ( Mexico); and Leonid Skotnikov ( Russian Federation).

The Council President informed members he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that the same five candidates had obtained an absolute majority in the voting conducted by the Assembly.

Having received an absolute majority in both the Council and the Assembly, Mohamed Bennouna ( Morocco); Kenneth Keith ( New Zealand); Bernardo Sepulveda Amor ( Mexico); and Leonid Skotnikov ( Russian Federation) were elected, and Thomas Buergenthal ( United States) was re-elected, all of them 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.