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Dalveer Bhandari reelected as ICJ judge

India’s nominee for the International Court of Justice Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the fifth and the last seat of the world court after withdrawal of Britain’s candidate from the election. Mr. Bhandari had received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and received all the 15 votes in the Security Council after holding of separate elections at the UN headquarters in New York. These elections were held after United Kingdom withdrew from the race for Hague-based ICJ which paved way for the reelection of Mr. Bhandari to the prestigious world court. There was a neck to neck fight for the re-election between Mr. Bhandari and Britain’s Christopher Greenwood. All the permanent members of the Security Council, which include USA, France, Russia, China and the UK, were throwing their weight behind Mr. Greenwood.

There was a dramatic turn of events in which the British Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft wrote identical letters to the president of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, before the meeting for the 12th round of voting. The letters were read out simultaneously by both the presidents and it mentioned that candidate Judge Christopher Greenwood had decided to withdraw from the election. Mr. Bhandari had received almost two thirds of the votes in the General Assembly in the 11 rounds of voting. In the Security Council, he received nine votes as against five for his opponent which resulted in a stalemate.

According to the letter read out simultaneously in the General Assembly and the Security Council, it was noted that the current deadlock could not be broken by further rounds of voting. After being the only candidate left in the race, Mr. Bhandari still went through the formal motion of voting in order to complete the formalities. UK mentioned that it was pleased to see ‘close friend’ win. UK said it will continue to cooperate closely with India at the United Nations and globally.

Mr. Rycroft mentioned that UK has concluded it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the council with additional rounds of elections. Britain, he mentioned, congratulated the successful candidates including Judge Bhandari of India. In addition, he stated that if UK could not win the run-off, they were pleased that a close friend like India has done so.

The re-election of Mr. Bhandari is a big win for India and it also means that the prestigious world court would not have any British judge for the first time in its history.

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