Bhandari re-elected to ICJ after UK withdraws its candidate

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UNITED NATIONS: India’s Dalveer Bhandari was Tuesday re-elected to the International Court of Justice with more than two-thirds of the UN members backing him, forcing Britain to withdraw its candidate amidst high drama in the hard-fought race to the world court.
In one of the country’s “biggest diplomatic victories” in the multilateral arena, Bhandari received 183 of the 193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council to fill the final vacancy on the Hague-based International Court of Justice after separate but simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters here.
Bhandari, 70, was declared re-elected for a fresh nine- year term at the ICJ after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the race about an hour before the scheduled voting.
According to observers, Bhandari’s victory has sent a strong message to the leading powers about the winds of change in the world and underscored the point that India is now a force to reckon with.
The ICJ has a bench of 15 judges, five of whom are elected every three years for a nine-year term. To be elected, the candidate needed majority in both the chambers. 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.
Soon after the election results were announced, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin was congratulated by representatives of other countries on the floor of the General Assembly. “Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind,” tweeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. In the last round of voting on November 13, Bhandari received 121 votes, just short of a two-thirds majority in the 193-member Assembly, while Greenwood received nine in the Council. “The precedent is clear,” India`s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said at a reception for Bhandari attended by representatives of over 160 countries on Thursday. “As is expected in the 21st century, the candidate who enjoys overwhelming support of the General Assembly membership can be the only legitimate candidate to go through.”
Three incumbent judges of the ICJ — President Ronny Abraham of France, Vice President, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia, and Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil – were elected along with Salam in the first four rounds of voting on November 9. Bhandari and the others elected will start their term in February next year.