Tomorrow (27 April), the Council and the General Assembly will both hold elections for the vacant position on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), following the resignation of Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) on 31 December 2011. (Council resolution 2034 of 19 January fixed the date of the election.) The new judge will occupy the seat for the remainder of the term (until 5 February 2018).
Article 8 of the Statute of the ICJ provides that “the General Assembly and the Security Council shall proceed independently of one another to elect the members of the Court.” Under article 10 of the ICJ Statute, candidates who obtain an absolute majority (i.e. more than 50 percent) of votes in both the General Assembly and the Council are elected. A candidate therefore must obtain 97 votes in the former and eight votes in the latter. In the Council vote, there is no distinction between permanent and non-permanent members.
The two nominees for the single position are Dalveer Bhandari (India) and Florentino P. Feliciano (Philippines). (In an 18 April note verbale, Lebanon announced that its candidate, Ghaleb Ghanem, had withdrawn from the race.) Bhandari (64), currently serves as a senior judge in the Supreme Court of India. Feliciano (84), served on the Supreme Court of the Philippines and is now a Member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (one of the potential arbitrators appointed by member states). (Both candidates’ curricula vitae are included in a note by the Secretary-General of 11 April – S/2012/213.)
India last had a judge serving on the bench of the ICJ in 1991 and has had three of its nationals serving about a total 20 years on the Court (1952-53; 1973-1988; and 1989-91). The Philippines has had one of its judges serve a nine-year term (1967-76).
Although the ICJ has no formal requirement for geographic distribution among its 15 judges, in practice it reflects the composition of the Security Council (with the P5 all maintaining a judge on the bench). Accordingly, a judge from the Asia region is expected to replace the outgoing Jordanian judge.
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