General Assembly, Concurrently with Security Council, Elects Four Judges to International Court of Justice

10 November 2011
GA/11171

General Assembly, Concurrently with Security Council, Elects Four Judges to International Court of Justice

10 November 2011
General Assembly
GA/11171
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

53rd-57thMeetings (AM & PM)


General Assembly, Concurrently with Security Council,

 

Elects Four Judges to International Court of Justice

 


Seven Balloting Rounds Fail to Fill Remaining Vacancy on World Court


The General Assembly today elected four judges from an initial pool of eight candidates to the International Court of Justice for terms of nine years beginning 6 February 2012.  A fifth vacancy remained open following seven rounds of voting.


The Assembly sent three current judges, Hisashi Owada (Japan), Xue Hanqin (China) and Peter Tomka (Slovakia) back to their posts in The Hague by re-electing them, while choosing a single new justice, Giorgio Gaja (Italy).  All four were elected in the first round of voting, which ran independently but concurrently with the Security Council.


The Court’s justices are elected by obtaining an absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and the Council, without regard to their nationality, from among persons of high moral character around the world.  Each has the qualifications required in his or her respective country for appointment to the highest judicial office, or is a jurisconsult of recognized competencies in international law.  No two judges can be from the same country and they cannot engage in any other occupation during their term of office.  (For Security Council results, see Press Release SC/10444.)


As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice — often referred to as the World Court — 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.


With four judges elected by both organs in the first round of balloting, the pool of candidates for the one remaining member thus dropped to four.  When none of those four received an absolute majority in the second round, Bulgaria withdrew the candidacy of Tsvetana Kamenova, and Senegal that of El Hadji Mansour Tall, prior to voting on a third ballot, leaving only a choice between Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) and Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone).


Over subsequent rounds of balloting, the Assembly and the Council were unable to agree on a candidate.  As neither Ms. Sebutinde nor Mr. Koroma obtained an absolute majority in both bodies, it was decided, following the seventh round of voting in the Assembly, to continue the balloting a later date, to be announced.


Serving as President of the Court since 2009, Hisashi Owada of Japan has sat on the Court for eight years since his election in 2003.  According to his curriculum vitae, he served as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration since 2001 and is a member of the Japanese Branch of the International Law Association.  Prior to that, he held a variety of positions in the Japanese Foreign Service between 1955 and 1998, including as Japan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (1994-1998).


Xue Hanqin of China - serving on the Court since 29 June 2010 - was elected to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge and former Vice-President of the Court, Shi Jiuyong.  Immediately prior to that, she was Ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Legal Counsel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and a member of the International Law Commission (re-elected in 2006 by the General Assembly for the term 2007-2011), having previously served in academic and diplomatic posts, including at the United Nations.


Peter Tomka of Slovakia initially joined the World Court 6 February 2003, before which he served his country’s Foreign Ministry in numerous legal advisory capacities, and also as part of its United Nations delegation.  He represented then-Czechoslovakia and Slovakia at many international legal and other conferences and served as Chairman, and in other capacities, on a variety of United Nations committees, groups and panels.


The newly elected judge, Giorgio Gaja of Italy is currently a member of the Institut de Droit International, Editor of the Rivista di Diritto Internazionale, Member of the Advisory Boards of the Common Market Law Review, the Columbia Journal of European Lawand the European Journal of International Law, in addition to having authored numerous books and articles on a broad range of international legal issues.


In addition to Mr. Owada, Ms. Xue and Mr. Tomka, the other three justices whose terms would expire on 5 February 2012 are Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone) andBruno Simma ( Germany).


The remaining 10 judges sitting on the Court include five whose terms will end in 2015: Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco); Thomas Buergenthal (United States); Kenneth Keith (New Zealand); Bernardo Sepúlveda-Amor (Mexico); and Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation), and five whose terms expire in 2018: Ronny Abraham (France), Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan), Antônio A. Cançado Trindade (Brazil), Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom) and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia).


First Round


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


Number of ballot papers:

192

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

192

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

192

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Owada, Hisashi ( Japan)

170

Gaja, Giorgio ( Italy)

164

Xue, Hanqin ( China)

162

Tomka, Peter ( Slovakia)

149

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

109

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

88

Kamenova, Tsvetana ( Bulgaria)

73

Tall, El Hadji Mansour ( Senegal)

38


Having received the required majority of votes in both the Assembly and the Security Council, Hisashi Owada (Japan), Giorgio Gaja (Italy), Xue Hanqin (China) and Peter Tomka (Slovakia) were elected to serve nine-year terms on the International Court of Justice.


As Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) did not receive an absolute majority in the Security Council, where Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone) was chosen, both bodies proceeded to a second round of voting from among all remaining candidates.


Second Round


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


Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

193

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

193

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

95

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

72

Kamenova, Tsvetana ( Bulgaria)

19

Tall, El Hadji Mansour ( Senegal)

7


As none of the remaining candidates received the required majority of votes, the Assembly moved to a third ballot.  Before the start of balloting, the candidates from Bulgaria and Senegal withdrew, leaving only two candidates in the third round.


Third Round


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


Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

193

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

193

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

110

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

83


As Ms. Sebutinde (Uganda) received an absolute majority in the Assembly, but not in the Security Council, a fourth round of balloting was required.


Fourth Round


The results of the fourth round of voting 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:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

96

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

93


Since no candidate obtained an absolute majority, the Assembly proceeded to a fifth round of voting.


Fifth Round


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


Number of ballot papers:

192

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

192

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

192

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

98

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

94


Following the fifth round of voting, Ms. Sebutinde ( Uganda) again achieved an absolute majority in the Assembly, but not in the Security Council.  As a result, the Assembly proceeded to another round of voting.


Sixth Round


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


Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

193

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

193

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

98

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

95


Again, Ms. Sebutinde (Uganda) received an absolute majority of votes in the General Assembly, but in the Security Council, Mr. Koroma (Sierra Leone) had done so.  Another round of balloting was held.


Seventh Round


The results of the seventh round of voting were as follows:


Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

193

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

193

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Sebutinde, Julia ( Uganda)

97

Koroma, Abdul G. (Sierra Leone)

96


Although the stalemate between the Assembly and the Council continued, a decision was taken to adjourn, due to the lateness of the hour, and continue balloting at a later date, to be announced.


The General Assembly will next convene on Friday, 11 November, at 10 a.m. to take up the reports of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, among other items.


Background


The General Assembly met today concurrently with but independently of the Security Council to elect five members of the International Court of Justice, to replace the five whose terms are set to expire on 5 February 2012.


Member States had before them a memorandum by the Secretary‑General, Election of five members of the International Court of Justice (document A/66/182-S/2011/452), which details the current composition of the Court, members whose terms are expiring and procedures for election of new members; a note by the Secretary‑General containing the List of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/66/183-S/2011/453), of whom there are eight, to replace the five members whose terms are expiring; and another note on Election of five members of the International Court of Justice:  curricula vitae of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/66/184-S/2011/454), containing the curricula vitae of those eight candidates.


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