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India’s Judge Dalveer Bhandari Re-elected to the International Court of Justice

Judge Dalveer Bhandari has been re-elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on overwhelmingly support of India by the UN General Assembly and UN Security Council on voting in New York on 20 November 2017 to fill the fifth vacancy for the 2018-2027 term. Judge Dalveer Bhandari received all 15 votes in the UN Security Council and 183 out of the 193 votes in the UN General Assembly which witnessed 10 abstentions. This extraordinary support from the UN membership is reflective of the respect for strong constitutional integrity of the Indian polity and the independence of the judiciary in India.

The Government of India welcoming the election thanked all those governments that supported India in this election and appreciated the United Kingdom (UK) decision to withdraw its candidate Christopher Greenwood, leaving the field clear for Dalveer Bhandari, who had the overwhelming support of the UN General Assembly. The other four Judges from France, Somalia, Brazil and Lebanon had got through on the first day of voting on November 9 for a nine-year term that will begin in February 2018.

It had been taken for granted by the big powers and the rest of the world, that the five permanent members of the Security Council, the Privileged-5 (P-5), are guaranteed a seat at the ICJ also called the World Court, and this will be the first time that the UK will not be a part of the ICJ since its inception. One of the 15 judges had always been British ever since the court was set up after the Second World War.

The International Court of Justice, founded on 26 June 1945, is the primary judicial branch, the principal legal body of the United Nations. Seated in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, the court settles legal disputes submitted to it by states. Five of the 15 judges of ICJ are elected every three years to ensure continuity.

Currently President of ICJ is Ronny Abraham from France. He is Member of the Court since 15 February 2005 was re-elected as from 6 February 2009 and is President of the Court since 6 February 2015.

The Vice President of ICJ is Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf from Somalia, who is Member of the Court since 6 February 2009 and Vice-President of the Court since 6 February 2015

The ICJ may entertain two types of cases:

  • Contentious Cases: legal disputes between States submitted to it by them, and
  • Advisory Proceedings: requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

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