Time for justice at the United Nations court


In the last round of voting at the United Nations a week ago, Greenwood secured only 68 votes in the general assembly against Bhandari's 121 votes.

Sebastiano Cardi, the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for November, casts his country's ballot at the election for the judges to serve on the ICJ.

But on Monday, amid continued threats from United Nations members to block his candidacy, Britain withdrew Sir Christopher from the race.

They are Ronny Abraham of France, Antnio Augusto Canado Trindade of Brazil and Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia and Nawaf Salam of Lebanon.

He had secured 122 votes in the 193 member UN General Assembly against 58 of the Philippines and a majority in the Security Council of 15 members.

Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at the United Nations headquarters in NY.

In June, the General Assembly voted to refer the legal status of the British-ruled Chagos Islands to the ICJ.

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In all previous incidents, the candidate getting the majority in the General Assembly has eventually been elected a judge of International Court of Justice.

Sir Christopher Greenwood QC had sat on the court for the past nine years, and was hoping to be re-elected.

"In taking this step, we have borne in mind the close relationship that the United Kingdom and India have always enjoyed and will continue to enjoy, and the fact that both candidates fulfil the requirements for election and have already served the court diligently with impartiality and independence".

With the election now a test of wills between the high-powered, but unrepresentative Council and the globally inclusive Assembly, Akbaruddin told representatives of about 160 countries at a reception for Bhandari on Thursday: "The General Assembly reflects the spirit of "We the People".

To win ICJ election, a candidate needs to get the majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council, which has not been the case in the 11 rounds of voting so far.

"We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates", Rycroft said.