India Wins International Court of Justice Seat After Hard Fight with UK

Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the ICJ on Nov. 20 after UK candidate Sir Christopher Greenwood withdrew from the race.


Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Nov. 20 after the British candidate, Sir Christopher Greenwood, withdrew his nomination after 11 rounds of voting, most of which were won by Bhandari. The United Kingdom won’t have a judge on the ICJ for the first time in its 71-year history.

The United Kingdom’s UN diplomat Matthew Rycroft said in a statement: “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. The UK congratulates the successful candidates, including Judge Bhandari of India. We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates. If the UK could not win in this runoff, 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.”

The United Kingdom’s defeat, despite being a member of the Permanent five of the Security Council, indicates its dissipating value as a global power since Brexit. Bhandari’s win was through a democratic process. He received 183 of 193 votes and approval from all 15 members of the Security Council. In the 11th round, he had received five votes from the Security Council. However, to win the election the candidate must have majority in the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.

The ICJ consists of 15 judges who are elected for a nine-year period. One-third of the ICJ’s bench — five judges — is elected every three years. Four other judges, from Brazil, France, Lebanon and Somalia, were elected to the ICJ in the earlier rounds.

Bhandari was elected in April 2012 after defeating Philippine candidate Florentino Feliciano for the seat vacated by the Jordanite judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh on being appointed as Prime Minister.

Bhandari, 70, is an alumnus of Jodhpur University and Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago. He was a judge for the Delhi High Court, Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court of India before heading to the ICJ.

Indian President Ramnath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers Suresh Prabhu, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Sushma Swaraj congratulated Bhandari for the re-election, which required lobbying and diplomatic dialogue.

“There was a crucial meet before the vote. We put forward our view and stuck to it. It was apparent that vote will be in our favour. We are grateful that the UK judge recused and recognized that the Indian judge was doing good in UNGA,” India’s diplomat to UN Syed Akbaruddin told NDTV.

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