Battle for ICJ seat deadlocked
Bhandari gets overwhelming support in UNGA, but trails in Security Council
Dalveer Bhandari, India’s nominee for the last seat in the World Court, has received overwhelming support from the U.N. General Assembly members, who defied permanent members of the Security Council to back him against the U.K.’s candidate.
The battle between Mr. Bhandari and Britain’s Christopher Greenwood for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seat remained deadlocked on Monday as neither could get the requisite numbers of votes in the latest face-off. Mr. Bhandari, 70, and Mr. Greenwood are seeking re-election at the Haguebased ICJ.
A third of the court’s 15member bench are elected every three years for a nineyear term, elections for which are held separately but simultaneously in the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council in New York. Last Thursday, four of the six candidates in the fray were elected in accordance with UN laws. Ronny Abraham of France, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia, Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil and Nawaf Salam of Lebanon were elected after four rounds of elections.
On Monday, the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council met separately to elect the remaining one candidate for the ICJ. In each of the five rounds of elections, Mr. Greenwood received nine votes and Mr. Bhandari five in the U.N. Security Council. The winner must secure eight votes in the Security Council. Given that Britain is a permanent member of the Security Council, Mr. Greenwood has an advantage over Mr. Bhandari.
Mr. Bhandari received absolute majority in the General Assembly elections in all the five rounds. In fact, he increased his vote tally from Thursday’s 115 to 121 votes in the General Assembly elections on Monday against the absolute majority number of 97. Mr. Greenwood’s vote tally dropped from 76 to 68 on Monday.
Both the General Assembly and the Security Council adjourned the meeting for the election, to be convened at a later date.
‘Voice of GA ignored’
Ahead of the Monday’s voting, Congress leader and former top U.N. official Shashi Tharoor said the “voice of the General Assembly” has been ignored for too long.
“As the U.N. Security Council (SC) & General Assembly (GA) vote to choose a judge for the International Court Of Justice (#ICJ) between Indian & UK candidates, the legitimacy & effectiveness of the UN are at stake. The voice of the GA has been ignored too long,” he said in a tweet. “This time a nominee of a Permanent member of the SC has failed to get an absolute majority of the GA, for the first time in a direct contest to a major @UN organ. GA vote has turned into a protest against an unwarranted extension of privilege for 70+ years. P5 lost by 40votes!” he said.