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Russian loses re-election to World Court; China-backed candidate also defeated

United Nations, Nov 10 (IANS) A Russian judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has lost re-election in a sign of the polarisation at the world organisation where the opposition to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine carried over to the judicial elections.

A candidate from Africa backed by China was also defeated in the elections held simultaneously at the Security Council and the General Assembly on Thursday.

Kirill Gevorgian of Russia, who was the Vice-President of the ICJ and was backed also by China, lost to Bogdan-Lucian Aurescu of Romania from the East Group.

Kesia-Mbe Mindua of Congo, nominated by only his country and China, lost to Dire Tladi from South Africa.

Elections were held to fill five vacancies on the 15-member Hague-based ICJ, popularly known as the World Court, where judges serve nine-year terms, unless they are elected to fill a mid-term vacancy, and five end their terms every three years.

A sitting judge, Hilary Charlesworth of Australia, was re-elected.

Sarah Hull Cleveland of the US was elected and will take the place of fellow American Joan Donoghue, who is retiring.

Donoghue is currently the Court’s President and her term runs out early next year.

The candidates needed a simple majority — at least 97 in the Assembly and eight in the Council — for election.

In Thursday’s election, the five successful candidates prevailed in the first round of Assembly voting, while it took five rounds in the Council.

Juan Manuel Gomez Robledo Verduzco of Mexico was the other candidate to win the election, polling the highest number of votes in both the Council, 13 votes, and the Assembly, 143.

Cleveland received the second-highest number of votes, 135 in the Assembly and 12 in the Council.

Gevorgian received 77 votes in the Assembly and in the Council’s fifth round five votes.

Mindua received only two votes in the Council and 65 in the Assembly.

Two other candidates, Chaloka Beyani of Zambia and Ahmed Amin Fathalla of Egypt also lost their bid for the ICJ bench.

Although the judgeships are not officially distributed by nationality or region, in practice a pattern of regional distribution is often followed in practice.

The permanent members of the Security Council also traditionally had one of their nationals on the ICJ bench.

These patterns were spectacularly broken in 2018 when India’s Dalveer Bhandari was elected defeating UK’s Christopher Greenwood when the 193-member General Assembly, where Bhandari received 121 votes, prevailed over the Security Council, which backed Greenwood and the UK pulled his candidacy.

Now neither the UK nor Russia will be represented on the bench.

(Arul Louis can be contacted at and followed at @arulouis)



Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad News Desk
Indian Abroad is a news channel and fortnightly newspaper meant for Australia’s Indian community and, besides news, focuses on lifestyle subjects like health, travel, culture, arts, beauty, fashion, entertainment, Bollywood, etc. Our YouTube channel here features daily news bulletins besides infotainment videos on lifestyle subjects.

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