General Assembly, After Four Inconclusive Voting Rounds, Remains at Stalemate with Security Council Over Filling Seat on International Court of Justice

22 November 2011
GA/11178

General Assembly, After Four Inconclusive Voting Rounds, Remains at Stalemate with Security Council Over Filling Seat on International Court of Justice

22 November 2011
General Assembly
GA/11178
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-sixth General Assembly

Plenary

63rd-66thMeetings (AM & PM)


General Assembly, After Four Inconclusive Voting Rounds, Remains at Stalemate


with Security Council Over Filling Seat on International Court of Justice


Assembly Vice-President Agrees to Hold Informal Talks on Next Steps;

Body Fills Vacancies on Joint Inspection Unit, Committee on Conferences


A weeks-long stalemate to elect one member of the International Court of Justice continued today as, after four votes — bringing the total number of voting rounds in the General Assembly to 11 — no candidate received the absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and the Security Council that was required to clinch the final seat on the World Court.


Following the inconclusive votes, delegates took the floor to emphasize that the Assembly could not “remain mired [in the deadlock] forever”.  In an effort to “move things forward”, the representative of the Solomon Islands proposed that the Assembly President hold informal consultations with both States and their regional group, and report back to member States with the results.  “We have expressed ourselves.  We now need to move to the next level”, he stressed.  The representative of Burundi seconded the suggestion.


Speaking on behalf of the President of the General Assembly, Vice President Csaba Kőrösi ( Hungary) agreed to take up that proposal and report to Member States at a later date.


The deadlock began on 10 November 2011 when four judges — Hisashi Owada ( Japan), Xue Hanqin ( China), Peter Tomka ( Slovakia) and Giorgio Gaja ( Italy) — were elected or reelected to the Court.  However, no candidate had earned the absolute majority in both Assembly and the Security Council — which vote independently but concurrently when seating judges for the Court — after an initial seven rounds of voting (See Press Release GA/11171).


Both bodies reconvened today to complete the election, which had been narrowed to two candidates:  Julia Sebutinde ( Uganda) and Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone).  Throughout the additional four rounds of secret balloting this afternoon, neither candidate emerged victorious, as the Security Council continued to support Mr. Koroma, while the General Assembly backed Ms. Sebutinde.  Voting was set to continue into a twelfth round at a date to be announced (For information on the Security Council voting, please see SC/10456).


Remaining on the Court from previous elections were 11 judges:  Ronny Abraham (France); Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco); Thomas Buergenthal (United States); Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom); Kenneth Keith (New Zealand); Bernardo Sepúlveda-Amor (Mexico); Bruno Simma (Germany); Leonid Skotnikov (Russian Federation); Antônio A. Cançado Trindade (Brazil); and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia).


As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice 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.


In other action today, the Assembly decided to designate five Member States to propose expert candidates to the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU), an external body of the United Nations system charged with the review of matters dealing with efficiency and the proper use of funds.  Those candidates would replace members whose terms of office would expire on 31 December 2012.


Selected were:   Gambia from among the African States; Russian Federation from among the Eastern European States; and the United States from among the Western European and Other States.  They would serve five-year terms beginning 1 January 2013.  The rules and procedures for appointment to the JIU are outlined in a Note by the Secretary-General (document A/66/106), which the Assembly had before it today.


As there were more candidate countries than vacant slots in the case of two regional groups, the Assembly voted by secret ballot to select, respectively, India from among the Asia Pacific States, and Haiti from among the Latin American and Caribbean States.


The Assembly recalled that, on 1 November 2011, it had selected Honduras, on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean States, to propose a candidate to fill a sixth vacancy on the Unit for a term of office beginning on 1 January 2012 and expiring on 31 December 2016.  That vacancy had resulted from the resignation of Mr. Enrique Román- Morey ( Peru) with effect from 31 October 2011, as described in an addendum to the Note by the Secretary-General (document A/66/106/Add.1).


In addition to the expert candidates to be selected by those countries, the composition of the Joint Inspection Unit, beginning 1 January 2012 would include:  Gérard Biraud ( France), Papa Louis Fall ( Senegal), Tadanori Inomata ( Japan), István Posta ( Hungary) and Cihan Terzi ( Turkey).


The General Assembly, on the recommendation of regional groups, also appointed Congo, France, Namibia and the Russian Federation as members of the Committee on Conferences for a period of three years, beginning on 1 January 2012.  Regarding three remaining vacant seats on that Committee, to be filled from among the Asia-Pacific and Latin American and Caribbean States, the President of the General Assembly urged those regional groups to submit their candidature as soon as possible.  One additional seat remained vacant.


The Assembly will reconvene on Tuesday, 29 November 2011, at 3:00 to consider the Question of Palestine.


Voting Results for Joint Inspection Unit


Asia-Pacific States

Number of ballot papers:

184

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

184

Abstentions:

1

Number of Members voting:

183

Required majority:

92


Number of votes obtained:

India

106

China

77


Having obtained the required majority, India was selected to propose a candidate to the Joint Inspection Unit.


Latin American and Caribbean States

Number of ballot papers:

184

Number of invalid ballots:

2

Number of valid ballots:

182

Abstentions:

4

Number of Members voting:

178

Required majority:

90


Number of votes obtained:

Haiti

96

Mexico

44

Bolivia

37

Cuba

1


Having obtained the required majority, Haiti was selected to propose a candidate to the Joint Inspection Unit.


Voting Results for International Court of Justice


Eighth Round

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:

Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone)

93

Julia Sebutinde ( Uganda)

96


As neither candidate received the required absolute majority of votes, the Assembly proceeded to a second round of secret ballot voting.


Ninth Round

Number of ballot papers:

191

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

191

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

191

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone)

92

Julia Sebutinde ( Uganda)

99


Ms. Sebutinde received the required absolute majority of votes.  However, as Mr. Koroma received an absolute majority of votes in the Security Council’s parallel round of voting, the Assembly proceeded to a third round of voting.


Tenth Round

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:

Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone)

94

Julia Sebutinde ( Uganda)

98


Ms. Sebutinde again received the required absolute majority of votes.  How ever, as Mr. Koroma received an absolute majority of votes in the Security Council’s parallel round of voting, the Assembly proceeded to a fourth round of voting.


Eleventh Round

Number of ballot papers:

191

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

191

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

191

Required majority:

97


Number of votes obtained:

Abdul G. Koroma ( Sierra Leone)

89

Julia Sebutinde ( Uganda)

102


Once again, Ms. Sebutinde earned the required absolute majority of votes in the Assembly.  However, as Mr. Koroma received an absolute majority of votes in the Security Council’s parallel round of voting, no candidate was elected today.


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