10 November 2017

Somalia: Abdulqawi Among Four Judges Elected to International Court of Justice

Photo: Frank van Beek/UN Photo/ICJ-CIJ
View of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Bench during the reading of its Judgment in the case concerning Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal). This session took place, exceptionally, in the Japanese Room of the Peace Palace./ Vue de la Cour internationale de Justice (CIJ) lors de la lecture de son arrêt en l'affaire relative à des Questions concernant l'obligation de poursuivre ou d'extrader (Belgique c. Sénégal)

The General Assembly and Security Council on Thursday elected four judges from an initial pool of six candidates to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

After five rounds of simultaneous voting that ran into the early evening, the Assembly and the Council - which met independently of each other - re-elected two current judges, Ronny Abraham (France) and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia), while also choosing two new justices, Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) and Nawaf Salam (Lebanon).

All four were elected in the fifth round of voting. They were elected to nine-year terms, starting on 6 February next year.

The Assembly and the Council will meet independently again Monday, 13 November, to elect a fifth judge to a seat on the ICJ.

The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected by an absolute majority in both the General Assembly (97 votes) and Security Council (8 votes). Five seats come up for election every three years. There is no bar on consecutive terms.

Judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not their nationality, but no two judges can be from the same country. The effort is also taken to ensure that the principal legal systems of the world are reflected in the composition of the court.

Established in 1945, and based in The Hague in the Netherlands, the ICJ - informally known as the 'World Court' - settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorized UN organs.

The election of the first members of the World Court took place on 6 February 1946, at the first session of the UN General Assembly and Security Council.

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