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GA/11579
6 November 2014
Sixty-ninth session, 39th Meeting (AM & PM)

General Assembly, Security Council Elect Four New Judges to World Court, Fifth Vacancy to Be Filled Pending Concurrent Action by Both Bodies

The General Assembly today, working concurrently, but independently, of the Security Council, elected four judges from an initial pool of eight candidates to the International Court of Justice for terms of nine years beginning 6 February 2015.  A fifth vacancy remained open following seven rounds of voting.  The Assembly sent two current judges, Mohamed Benouna (Morocco) and Joan E. Donoghue (United States) back to their posts in The Hague by re-electing them, while choosing two new justices, James Richard Crawford (Australia) and Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation).  All four were elected in the seventh round of voting.

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, please see Press Release SC/11633 of 6 November.

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 no judges elected by either organ in the first three rounds of balloting, the pool of candidates dropped to six as Madagascar dropped the candidacy of Eugénie Liliane Arivony, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo dropped the candidacy of Sayeman Bula-Bula.

Over subsequent rounds of balloting, the Assembly was unable to agree on five candidates, with all six receiving more than the required absolute majority.  According to a decision taken by the Assembly at an earlier date, a new ballot would be held until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

The Court’s composition at 6 February 2015, not including the candidate still to be elected, will be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parentheses):  Peter Tomka, Slovakia (2021); Ronny Abraham, France (2018); Mohamed Bennouna, Morocco (2024); Dalveer Bhandari, India (2018); Joan E. Donoghue, United States (2024); Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, Brazil (2018); Giorgio Gaja, Italy (2021); Christopher Greenwood, United Kingdom (2018); James Richard Crawford (Australia) (2024); Hisashi Owada, Japan (2021); Xue Hanqin, China (2021); Julia Sebutinde, Uganda (2021) Kirill Gevorgian, Russian Federation (2024); and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, Somalia (2018).

Having filled four posts, the General Assembly will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 6 November, to elect the fifth judge.

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 2015.

Member States had before them a memorandum by the Secretary-General, Election of five members of the International Court of Justice (document A/69/230-S/2014/520), which details the current composition of the Court, members whose terms are expiring, and procedures for the election of new members; a note by the Secretary-General containing the List of candidates nominated by national groups (document A/69/253-S/2014/521), of whom there were nine, including Jemal Agatt who, at the beginning of the meeting, withdrew his candidature 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/69/254-S/2014/522), containing the curricula vitae of those nine candidates.

First Round

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

Number of ballot papers:

193

Number of invalid ballots:

1

Number of valid ballots:

192

Abstentions:

0

Number of Members voting:

192

Required majority:

97

Number of votes obtained:

 

Joan E. Donoghue (United States)

155

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco)

147

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation)

143

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica)

136

James Richard Crawford (Australia)

135

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina)

124

Eugénie Liliane Arivony (Madagascar)

50

Sayeman Bula-Bula (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

42

As more than five candidates had obtained an absolute majority, the General Assembly moved to a second unrestricted ballot to fill the still-remaining five vacancies.  This was according to a decision taken by the General Assembly at an earlier date, deciding that a new ballot would be held 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:

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:

 

Joan E. Donoghue (United States)

152

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco)

152

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation)

150

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica)

136

James Richard Crawford (Australia)

136

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina)

118

Eugénie Liliane Arivony (Madagascar)

31

Sayeman Bula-Bula (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

25

As more than five candidates had obtained an absolute majority, the General Assembly moved to a third unrestricted ballot to fill the still-remaining five vacancies.  This was according to a decision taken by the General Assembly at an earlier date, deciding that a new ballot would be held until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

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:

 

Joan E. Donoghue (United States)

158

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco)

156

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation)

151

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica)

149

James Richard Crawford (Australia)

140

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina)

104

Eugénie Liliane Arivony (Madagascar)

24

Sayeman Bula-Bula (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

21

As more than five candidates had obtained an absolute majority, the Assembly moved to a fourth unrestricted ballot to fill the still-remaining five vacancies.  This was according to a decision taken by the Assembly at an earlier date, deciding that a new ballot would be held until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

The representative of Madagascar then withdrew their candidature for the position.

The representative of the Democratic Republic of the Congo took the floor to say that in compliance with the rules, and in accordance with their national group, the Democratic Republic of the Congo had decided to withdraw the candidature of Sayeman Bula-Bula from the ballot.

Fourth Round

The results of the fourth, unrestricted 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:

 

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco)

165

Joan E. Donoghue (United States)

160

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation)

154

James Richard Crawford (Australia)

144

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica)

141

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina)

116

As more than five candidates had obtained an absolute majority, the Assembly moved to a fifth unrestricted ballot to fill the still-remaining five vacancies.  This was according to a decision taken by the Assembly at an earlier date, deciding that a new ballot would be held until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

Fifth Round

The results of the fifth, unrestricted 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:

 

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco):

161

Joan E. Donoghue (United States):

157

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation):

147

James Richard Crawford (Australia):

141

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica):

138

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina):

108

As more than five candidates had obtained an absolute majority, the General Assembly moved to a sixth, unrestricted ballot to fill the still-remaining five vacancies.  This was according to a decision taken by the General Assembly at an earlier date, deciding that a new ballot would be held until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

Sixth Round

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

Number of ballot papers:

192

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

192

Abstentions:

1

Number of Members voting:

191

Required majority:

97

Number of votes obtained:

 

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco):

161

Joan E. Donoghue (United States):

158

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation):

147

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica):

141

James Richard Crawford (Australia):

138

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina):

108

As more than five candidates had obtained an absolute majority, the General Assembly moved to a seventh, unrestricted ballot to fill the still-remaining five vacancies.  This was according to a decision taken by the General Assembly at an earlier date, deciding that a new ballot would be held until only the required number of candidates, and no more, obtained an absolute majority.

Seventh Round

The results of the seventh, unrestricted 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:

 

Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco):

159

Joan E. Donoghue (United States):

156

Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation):

145

James Richard Crawford (Australia):

141

Patrick Lipton Robinson (Jamaica):

139

Susana Ruiz Cerutti (Argentina):

95

Although Mr. Robinson (Jamaica) had received an absolute majority in the General Assembly, Ms. Cerutti (Argentina) had received an absolute majority in the Security Council, as well.  Therefore, a decision was taken to adjourn, due to the lateness of the hour, and to continue balloting at 10 a.m. on Friday, 7 November.

For information media. Not an official record.