Security Council, General Assembly Unable to Reach Agreement for Remaining Vacancy on International Court of Justice

SC/13064
13 November 2017
8094th to 8098th Meetings (PM)

Security Council, General Assembly Unable to Reach Agreement for Remaining Vacancy on International Court of Justice

The Security Council this afternoon, meeting independently from, but concurrently with the General Assembly, failed to elect the last of five members to the International Court of Justice for a nine‑year term, beginning on 6 February 2018.

In the election, six candidates were contesting five positions for nine‑year terms.  Five of the candidates are current members of the International Court of Justice:  Ronny Abraham (France), the incumbent President of the Court; Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), the incumbent Vice‑President; Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil); Dalveer Bhandari (India); and Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom).  The sixth candidate is Nawaf Salam, currently the Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations.

Voting took place simultaneously in the Security Council and the General Assembly.  Under the terms of the Court’s Statute, a candidate obtaining an absolute majority of votes in both organs is considered elected.  In the Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority and no distinction is made between permanent and non‑permanent Council members.  By contrast, all 193 Member States in the General Assembly are electors.  Accordingly, for the purpose of the election, 97 votes constitute an absolute majority in the Assembly.  For Security Council results of the 10 November election, see Press Release SC/13063, and for General Assembly results, see Press Release GA/11971.

After five rounds of voting on 10 November, the Council re‑elected Mr. Abraham, Mr. Cançado Trindade and Mr. Yusuf to their seats, also selecting Mr. Salam.  As Mr. Greenwood received the required majority in the Council, and Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly, the Council and the Assembly met today to continue the election process.

In five rounds of voting, Mr. Greenwood acquired the absolute majority in the Council, but Mr. Bhandari received the required majority in the Assembly.  The Council and the Assembly will have to meet again, at a date to be determined, to continue the election process.  For General Assembly results, see Press Release GA/11974.

The Court’s composition on 6 February 2018, not including the candidate still to be elected, will be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parentheses):  Ronny Abraham (France) (2027); Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco) (2024); Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) (2027); James Richard Crawford (Australia) (2024); Joan E. Donoghue (United States) (2024); Giorgio Gaja (Italy) (2021); Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation) (2024); Xue Hanqin (China) (2021); Hisashi Owada (Japan) (2021); Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) (2021); Peter Tomka (Slovakia) (2021); and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) (2027).

Located in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Court of Justice is the principal judicial body of the United Nations.  Composed of 15 judges, it adjudicates between States, and its legal opinions are binding.  The Court also issues advisory opinions when requested to do so.

The meetings began at 3:09 p.m. and ended at 6:10 p.m.

First Round of Voting

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

Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

1

Required majority:

8

Number of votes obtained:

 

Dalveer Bhandari (India)

5

Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom)

9

The following candidate received the absolute majority in the Council:  Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom).

Sebastiano Cardi (Italy), Council President for the month of November, then announced that he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly.

As no candidates had obtained the absolute required majority in both the Council and the Assembly, Mr. Cardi announced that the Council would proceed to a second vote for the one seat remaining.

Second Round of Voting

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

Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

1

Required majority:

8

Number of votes obtained:

 

Dalveer Bhandari (India)

5

Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom)

9

The following candidate received the absolute majority in the Council:  Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom).

Mr. Cardi then announced that he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly.

As no candidates had obtained the absolute required majority in both the Council and the Assembly, Mr. Cardi announced that the Council would proceed to a third vote for the one seat remaining.

Third Round of Voting

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

Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

1

Required majority:

8

Number of votes obtained:

 

Dalveer Bhandari (India)

5

Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom)

9

The following candidate received the absolute majority in the Council:  Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom).

Mr. Cardi then announced that he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly.

As no candidates had obtained the absolute required majority in both the Council and the Assembly, Mr. Cardi announced that the Council would proceed to a fourth vote for the one seat remaining.

Fourth Round of Voting

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

Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

1

Required majority:

8

Number of votes obtained:

 

Dalveer Bhandari (India)

5

Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom)

9

The following candidate received the absolute majority in the Council:  Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom).

Mr. Cardi then announced that he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly.

As no candidates had obtained the absolute required majority in both the Council and the Assembly, Mr. Cardi announced that the Council would proceed to a fifth vote for the one seat remaining.

Fifth Round of Voting

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

Number of ballot papers:

15

Number of invalid ballots:

0

Number of valid ballots:

15

Number of abstentions:

1

Required majority:

8

Number of votes obtained:

 

Dalveer Bhandari (India)

5

Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom)

9

The following candidate received the absolute majority in the Council:  Christopher Greenwood (United Kingdom).

Mr. Cardi then announced that he had received a letter from the President of the General Assembly informing him that Mr. Bhandari had acquired the required majority in the Assembly.

For information media. Not an official record.