General Assembly, Security Council Elect Four Judges to International Court of Justice

GA/11971
9 November 2017
Seventy-second Session, 44th & 45th Meetings (AM , PM & Night)

General Assembly, Security Council Elect Four Judges to International Court of Justice

Fifth Vacancy to Be Filled Pending Concurrent Action by Both Organs

Meeting concurrently with the Security Council, the General Assembly today elected four judges from an initial pool of six candidates to the International Court of Justice for terms of nine years beginning 6 February 2018. 

The General Assembly re‑elected three current judges, Ronny Abraham (France), Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) and Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil), while also choosing one new justice, Nawaf Salam (Lebanon).  All four were elected in the fifth round of voting.  A fifth vacancy remained open following six rounds of voting.  (For Security Council results, see Press Release SC/13063.)

Prior to voting, Member States had before them a memorandum by the Secretary-General (document A/72/181), which detailed the current composition of the Court and the procedure to be followed in the Assembly and the Security Council with regard to the election; a list of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/72/182); and the curricula vitae of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/72/183).

Also before them was a note by the Secretary-General (document A/72/182/Add.1) in which he informed the Assembly that the national group of Zambia had decided to withdraw its nomination of Chaloka Beyani as a candidate.

Ronny Abraham (France), a member of the International Court of Justice since 15 February 2005, was re‑elected as of 6 February 2009 and has served as President of the Court since 6 February 2015.  Born in Alexandria, Egypt, he holds a diploma in Advanced Studies in Public Law from the University of Paris I and a diploma from the Institut d’etudes politiques of Paris, where he was also a professor of international law until 1998.

Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) has been Vice-President of the International Court of Justice since February 2015 and a Member of the Court since February 2009.  He is a member of the panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes and the founding Chairman of the African Institute of International Law in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania.  He holds a Docteur dès sciences politiques degree in International Law from the University of Geneva, a Juris Doctorate from the Faculty of Law, Somali National University, and a certificate from the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law, Hague Academy of International Law.

Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil), a member of the International Court of Justice since 6 February 2009, has held various international legal positions including as President of the Inter‑American Court of Human Rights (elected 1999, re‑elected 2002), Vice-President of the Inter‑American Court of Human Rights (elected 1997), and Judge of the Inter‑American Court of Human Rights (elected 1995, re‑elected 2000).  He was a professor of Public International Law at the University of Brasilia, as well as at the Diplomatic Academy Rio Branco, Brazil, and holds both a Ph.D. and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Nawaf Salam (Lebanon) was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations in New York as of July 2007, and had represented Lebanon in the Security Council for its two-year term as a non‑permanent member in 2010 and 2011.  He also served as Vice-President of the General Assembly at its sixty‑seventh session (September 2012-September 2013) and as head of Lebanon’s delegation to the Paris Climate Change Summit and the International Conference on Financing for Development in 2015.  He holds a Ph.D. from the Institut d’etudes politiques and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School and worked as an attorney‑at‑law both in Lebanon and the United States.

The remaining 10 judges sitting on the Court, whose terms would expire either in 2021 or 2024 were: Hisadhi Owada (Japan); Peter Tomka (Slovakia); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco); Xue Hanqin (China); Joan E. Donoghue (United States); Giorgio Gaja (Italy); Julia Sebutinde (Uganda); Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica); James Richard Crawford (Australia); and Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation).

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 must have 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 may be from the same country and they may not engage in any other occupation during their term of office.

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.

First Round

The results of the first 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:

 

Abraham, Ronny (France)

165

Bhandari, Dalveer (India)

149

Cançado Trindade, Antônio Augusto (Brazil)

153

Greenwood, Christopher (United Kingdom)

147

Salam, Nawaf (Lebanon)

148

Yusuf, Abdulqawi Ahmed (Somalia)

144

As more than five candidates had received the absolute majority of votes required, the Assembly began another round of voting, to be continued until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

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:

 

Abraham, Ronny (France)

159

Cançado Trindade, Antônio Augusto (Brazil)

150

Salam, Nawaf (Lebanon)

150

Bhandari, Dalveer (India)

141

Yusuf, Abdulqawi Ahmed (Somalia)

141

Greenwood, Christopher (United Kingdom)

137

The Assembly then began another round of voting, as more than five candidates had received the absolute majority of votes required. 

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:

 

Abraham, Ronny (France)

144

Yusuf, Abdulqawi Ahmed (Somalia)

141

Salam, Nawaf (Lebanon)

136

Cançado Trindade, Antônio Augusto (Brazil)

131

Bhandari, Dalveer (India)

120

Greenwood, Christopher (United Kingdom)

109

With more than five candidates once again receiving the absolute majority of votes required, another round of voting was held. 

Fourth Round

The results of the fourth 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:

 

Abraham, Ronny (France)

137

Salam, Nawaf (Lebanon)

136

Yusuf, Abdulqawi Ahmed (Somalia)

136

Cançado Trindade, Antônio Augusto (Brazil)

131

Bhandari, Dalveer (India)

121

Greenwood, Christopher (United Kingdom)

102

As in the prior voting rounds, five candidates had obtained the absolute majority of votes required.  The Assembly then started another round of voting, to be continued until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

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:

 

Abraham, Ronny (France)

139

Yusuf, Abdulqawi Ahmed (Somalia) 137

 

Salam, Nawaf (Lebanon)

135

Cançado Trindade, Antônio Augusto (Brazil)

127

Bhandari, Dalveer (India)

118

Greenwood, Christopher (United Kingdom)

96

After the fifth round of voting, the following five candidates obtained the absolute majority required in the General Assembly: Ronny Abraham (France), Dalveer Bhandari (India), Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil), Nawaf Salam (Lebanon) and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia).

However, as a result of the voting that had taken place concurrently in the Security Council, only four candidates — Mr. Abraham, Mr. Cançado Trindade, Mr. Salam and Mr. Yusuf — had obtained the required absolute majorities in both bodies.  They were duly elected to serve as members of the International Court of Justice for nine‑year terms beginning on 6 February 2018.

Because another plenary meeting would be needed to fill the remaining vacancy, the President proposed that the present meeting be adjourned and another open immediately after to vote on the remaining vacancy.

Sixth Round

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

Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

1

Number of valid ballots:

192

Abstentions:

1

Number of Members voting:

191

Required majority:

97

Number of votes obtained:

 

Bhandari, Dalveer (India)

115

Greenwood, Christopher (United Kingdom)

76

While one candidate, Bhandari, Dalveer (India), received the absolute majority of vote required in the Assembly, the President announced that, following the independent concurrent meeting in the Security Council, no candidate had obtained the required absolute majorities in both bodies.

Another meeting would be required to elect the remaining candidate.  The President thus proposed that the current meeting be adjourned and another be held at 3 p.m. Monday, 13 November, for that purpose.

The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. Friday, 10 November, to take up the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

For information media. Not an official record.