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India's Dalveer Bhandari and Britain's Greenwood in tight race for ICJ seat


United Nations, November 10: India's Dalveer Bhandari and Britain's Christopher Greenwood are locked in a tight contest for re-election to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as the UN could not decide between them after electing four out of five judges to the World Court.

India's Dalveer Bhandari. PTI file photo

The 193 members of the UN General Assembly and 15 of the Security Council will reconvene on Monday to decide between Bhandari, 70, and Greenwood, 62.

Based in The Hague, the ICJ has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term.

Established in 1945, the role of the ICJ is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions.

Along with justice Bhandari and justice Greenwood, three others -- Ronny Abraham of France, Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade of Brazil and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia -- were seeking re-election. Their terms expire on February 5, 2018. Nawaf Salam of Lebanon was also in the fray, making a total of six candidates for five positions.

Judges of France, Somalia, Lebanon and Brazil were elected after the fourth round of voting late in the afternoon, as they received an absolute majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council elections.

Stakes are now high for both India and Britain for the last seat. In the fourth round, Bhandari received a majority -- 115 votes -- in the General Assembly, while Greenwood received 76 votes.

However, in the 15-member Security Council Greenwood got a majority (nine) of the votes as against six votes by Bhandari. As a result, another round of votes has been scheduled for Monday.

As per the United Nation's ICJ election rules, candidates need to get absolute majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council.

Both elections are held simultaneously but independently of each other. That means 97 votes in the Assembly and eight votes in the Security Council are required to win the ICJ election.

Several rounds of elections were held today at the General Assembly and the Security Council in the absence of any candidates getting an absolute majority.

A former judge of the Supreme Court, Bhandari was elected to the International Court of Justice on April 27, 2012, following a vacancy after the resignation of sitting court judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh from Jordon on being appointed as the Prime Minister.

Bhandari had received 122 votes in the UN General assembly as against 58 for Florentino Feliciano from the Philippines.

In May, the ICJ, on India's petition, stayed the execution of Indian national and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on the charge of "spying".


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