India’s Dalveer Bhandari re-elected in International Court of Justice after UK pulls out

He was zeroed in after Britain pulled out its candidate, Christopher Greenwood.

India’s Dalveer Bhandari, 70 won the last seat in the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood in a down-to-the-wire race between the two nations. After the two designated days and multiple rounds of voting that ended up in a deadlock, choice of the majority prevailed.

It will be the first time since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was established in 1945 that there will be no British judge.

Pulling out its candidate, the British Ambassador said, “It is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of election.”

On Monday afternoon, hours ahead of the voting, the two Presidents of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) called the Permanent Representatives of India Syed Akbaruddin and UK’s envoy Matthew Rycroft, for a meeting to end the deadlock.

UK earlier had sent a proposal to invoke the ‘joint conference’ mechanism and avoid further voting because while Britain had managed to be ahead in the 15-member UNSC, India had near two-thirds majority at the 193-member UNGA.

India had firmly rejected the offer of a “procedure” that had never been used before and wanted to stay the course on voting.

What happened at the United Nations later in the day was only a reiteration of India’s stand that with the world had sided with India giving Dalveer Bhandari such an overwhelming support at the General Assembly in the last rounds and in the voting that took place on Monday.

India’s envoy to the UN tweeted saying, “A vote that brings cheer to a billion. India’s nominee Judge Bhandari re-elected to ICJ. General Assembly=183, Security Council=15”

UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak also expressed relief and satisfaction when he tweeted, “Happy that ICJ elections successfully wrapped up today. A constructive spirit prevailed. Congrats to the 5 new judges.”

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj expressed her happiness over Twitter saying, “Vande Matram – India wins election to the International Court of Justice. JaiHind. #ICJ”

Sebastian Cardi, President of UNSC, also announced the election of the “5 members of the ICJ” and congratulated all “elected members” and wished them “every success in this office”

As per rules, in order to secure a seat at the ICJ , a candidate has to win a majority in both the UNGA and UNSC which had not happened in this case in the first 11 rounds of voting necessitating a 12th round.

While India secured 183 votes at the UNGA, it was the withdrawal of Greenwood from the race that led to a clean sweep of 15 votes for Bhandari at the UNSC.

On November 9, the UNGA and Security Council members had elected judges to four of the five seats up for re-election this year, with the fate of the candidates from India and Britain hanging in the balance.


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