General Assembly Elects Four States to Economic and Social Council, One Judge for Former Yugoslavia Tribunal

18 November 2013
GA/11456

General Assembly Elects Four States to Economic and Social Council, One Judge for Former Yugoslavia Tribunal

Sixty-eighth General Assembly
53rd Meeting (AM)
Permanent Observer Mission for State of Palestine Casts Historic First Vote
 

The General Assembly today voted to elect four States to the Economic and Social Council and one permanent judge to the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.

 

In a single secret ballot, the General Assembly elected Germany, Greece, Italy and Portugal to the Economic and Social Council, the body responsible for addressing global economic, social and environmental challenges.

 

Turning to the Tribunal, which had been established to prosecute and try perpetrators of serious crimes committed during wars in that region, a historic vote was taken that saw the Permanent Observer Mission for the State of Palestine cast its ballot in the General Assembly for the first time ever.  Voting on that appointment required two separate ballots on three of the six original candidates presented to the Assembly, after the withdrawal of candidatures by Austria, Iran and Jordan.

 

Koffi Kumelio Afande ( Togo) was elected by an absolute majority of 108 votes after the second ballot.  His term will run from 18 November until 31 December or the completion of the cases before him.

 

An observer for the State of Palestine welcomed his participation in voting on the appointment to the Tribunal as an “important step in the march for freedom, independence and full membership of the United Nations”.  Acknowledging the applause from numerous delegations, he said that the positive reaction of the Assembly as his country cast its ballot was a “clear message” that it was ready for full membership in the United Nations.

 

Taking a different view was Israel’s representative, who said that the sentiments of “the representative of Palestine” would have been better expressed “outside in the corridor” of the General Assembly and not in it.  His delegation was of the view that Palestine was not a State.  It did not meet the criteria for Statehood, and the route to such Statehood did not run through the United Nations but rather through negotiations between Israel and Ramallah.

 

The General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m., Wednesday, 20 November to take up integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields; reports of the Secretary-General; follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit; and United Nations reform: measures and proposals.  It would also consider the situation in Afghanistan.

 

Background

 

The Assembly had before it a letter from the President of the Security Council (document A/68/516), a memorandum by the Secretary-General (documents A/68/539, A/68/539/Add.1, and A/68/539/Add.2) and curricula vitae (document A/68/540).

 

Voting Results for Economic and Social Council

 

The General Assembly held by-elections for four vacancies in the Economic and Social Council that would fill the unexpired term of office of Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and Turkey, commencing 1 January 2014 and expiring on 31 December 2014 in the case of Ireland, Spain and Turkey and on 31 December 2015 in the case of the Netherlands. 

 

Western European and other States (4 seats)

Number of ballot papers:

187

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

187

Abstentions:

1

Number of Members present and voting:

186

Required majority:

124

   

Number of votes obtained by country:

Italy

184

Greece

182

Germany

180

Portugal

179

Australia

1

Netherlands

1

 

Having obtained the required two-thirds majority, the following States were elected members of the Economic and Social Council for a term beginning on 1 January 2014: Germany, Greece, Italy and Portugal.

 

Voting Results for Tribunal

 

The Assembly then turned to the election of one permanent judge for the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991, commencing on the date of the election.

 

The Permanent Observer for the Holy See, speaking in explanation of position, said that while the Holy See was entitled to participate in the election of judges to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, in accordance with prior practice, it had chosen to abstain.  It was to be hoped that the elected candidate would serve justice and contribute to peace around the world.

 

Results of First Ballot

Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

193

Abstentions:

4

Number of Members present and voting:

189

Required majority:

98

   

Number of individual votes obtained:

Koffi Kumelio Afande ( Togo)

94

Gabrielle McIntyre ( Australia)

53

Pavel Gontsarov ( Estonia)

42

With no candidate securing the required 98 votes for an absolute majority in the first ballot, the Assembly moved to a second, unrestricted ballot.

 

Results of Second Ballot

Number of ballot papers:

192

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

192

Abstentions:

3

Number of Members present and voting:

189

Required majority:

98

   

Number of individual votes obtained:

 

Koffi Kumelio Afande ( Togo)

108

Gabrielle McIntyre ( Australia)

56

Pavel Gontsarov ( Estonia)

25

Having obtained the required absolute majority Koffi Kumelio Afande ( Togo) was elected to the Tribunal.

 

An observer for the State of Palestine said that participating for the first time in such an election was an important step in the State of Palestine’s pursuit of freedom and independence.  He called on the General Assembly to grant it full United Nations membership very soon.

 

The representative of Israel said he was very sorry to have been forced to ruin a professional vote.  However, the expression of “the representative of Palestine on this historical vote should have been done outside in the corridor” of the General Assembly and not inside.   Palestine was not a State and did not meet the criteria for statehood, he said.  The only route to Palestinian statehood did not run through the United Nations but would only come about as a result of negotiations between Israel and Ramallah.

 

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For information media. Not an official record.