India’s nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Dalveer Bhandari was on Monday re-elected to the fifth and the last seat of the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate from the election.
Mr. Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters in New York.
The elections were held after United Kingdom, in a dramatic turn of events, withdrew out of the race for the Hague-based ICJ, thus paving the way for Mr. Bhandari’s re-election to the prestigious world court.
Mr. Bhandari and Britain’s Christopher Greenwood were locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election to the ICJ.
The permanent members of the Security Council — USA, Russia, France and China — were understood to have been throwing their weight behind Mr. Greenwood. The UK is the fifth permanent member of the Security Council.
In a dramatic turn of events, the British Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, wrote identical letters to the presidents of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, before the two chambers were scheduled to meet at 3 pm for the 12th round of voting.
Read out simultaneously by both the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council, Mr. Rycroft said that its candidate Judge Christopher Greenwood had decided to withdraw from the election to the 15-membered ICJ.
In the 11 rounds of voting, Mr. Bhandari had got nearly two-thirds of the votes in the General Assembly and in Security Council Greenwood consistently received nine votes as against five for his opponent. This resulted in a stalemate.
As per the letter read out simultaneously in the General Assembly and the Security Council, Rycroft said the current deadlock is unlikely to be broken by further rounds of voting.
As such he announced withdrawal from the race. With Mr. Bhandari being the only candidate left in the race, the General Assembly and Security Council still went through the formal motion of voting to complete the formalities.
Congratulating Justice Bhandari, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted, “Vande Matram — India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind. #ICJ.”
Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind. #ICJ
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) November 20, 2017
Pleased to see ‘close friend’ win: UK
Congratulating Justice Bhandari, the UK said it will continue to cooperate closely with India at the United Nations and globally.
“The UK has concluded that it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of elections,” Mr. Rycroft said.
Britain, he said, congratulates the successful candidates, including Judge Bhandari of India.
“We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates,” Mr. Rycroft added.
“If the UK could not win in this run-off, then we are pleased that it is a close friend like India that has done so instead. We will continue to cooperate closely with India, here in the United Nations and globally,” he said.
Britain’s withdrawal from the election to the prestigious world court would mean that there will not be a British judge on the UN’s most powerful court for the first time in its history.