12 October 2001


To Serve for Balance of Term of Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria)

The Security Council this morning, meeting independently, but concurrently with the General Assembly, elected Nabil Elaraby (Egypt) to the International Court of Justice, to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Judge and former President Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria), as of 30 September 2001.

Mr. Elaraby will serve for the remainder of his predecessor’s nine-year term -– until 5 February 2006. He was nominated by a group of nations composed of: Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Sweden and United Kingdom.

Judge Bedjaoui served his first term on the Court beginning in 1982 when he was elected to fill a vacancy of a recently deceased judge. He was re-elected to serve in 1988 and again in 1997.

The Council elected Mr. Elaraby in one round of secret balloting, in which he received a total of 13 votes. The only other candidate, Francis Romain Wodie (Côte d’Ivoire) received two votes. Under the terms of the Court's Statute, the candidate who obtains an absolute majority of votes in both the Assembly and in the Council is considered elected. In the Security Council, eight votes constitute an absolute majority and no distinction is made between permanent and non-permanent members of the Council.

The electors in the General Assembly are all 189 Member States together with the one non-Member State (Switzerland), which is a party to the Statute of the Court. Accordingly, for the purpose of the Court election, 96 votes constitute an absolute majority in the Assembly.

The composition of the Court will now be as follows (terms expire on 5 February of the year in parenthesis): Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan) (2009); Nabil Elaraby (Egypt) (2006); Thomas Buergenthal (United States) (2006); Carl-August Fleischhauer (Germany) (2003); Gilbert Guillaume (France) (2009); Géza Herczegh (Hungary) (2003); Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom) (2009); Shi Jiuyong (China)(2003); Pieter H. Kooijmans (Netherlands) (2006); Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone) (2003); Shigeru Oda (Japan) (2003); Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren (Venezuela) (2009); Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar) (2009); José F. Rezek (Brazil) (2006); and Vladlen S. Vereshchetin (Russian Federation)(2006).

The Court, located in The Hague, is the United Nations principal judicial organ. It adjudicates disputes between States, and its legal opinions are binding. The Court also gives advisory opinions to the United Nations and the specialized agencies when requested to do so. According to Article 2 of the Statute, judges are to be elected, regardless of their nationality, from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are of recognized competence in international law. Article 9 requires electors to bear in mind that the body as a whole should represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.

The presidency of the Security Council in February is held by Ireland, and today’s meeting was presided over by the country’s Permanent Representative, Richard Ryan.

The meeting, which began at 10:21 a.m., adjourned at 11:47 a.m.


The Assembly had before it a memorandum by the Secretary-General on the election of a member of the International Court of Justice (document A/56/372-S/2001/881), noting that Judge and former President Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria) had tendered his resignation effective 30 September 2001. His nine-year term of office would have expired on 5 February 2006. According to Article 15 of the Statute of the Court, a member of the Court elected to replace a member whose term of office has not expired shall hold office for the remainder of the predecessor's term.

The memorandum lists the composition of the Court and describes the procedure for election in the Assembly and the Security Council. The Court consists of 15 judges, elected for a term of nine years. Its current President is Gilbert Guillaume (France); the Vice-President is Shi Jiuyong (China).

During the election, the General Assembly and the Security Council will proceed, independently of one another, to elect one member to fill the vacancy. In the Assembly, Switzerland, party to the Statute of the Court, but not a Member of the United Nations, has been invited to participate in the same manner as the States Members, in accordance with Assembly resolution 264 (III) of 1948. The candidate who obtains an absolute majority of votes both in the Assembly (96 votes) and in the Council (eight, without distinction between its permanent and non-permanent members) will be considered as elected.

If, in the first ballot in either the Assembly or the Council, no candidate receives an absolute majority, a second ballot will be held. Balloting will continue in the same meeting until a candidate has obtained the required majority.

When a candidate has obtained the required majority in one of the organs, the President of that organ will notify the President of the other organ of the name of that candidate. Such notification is not communicated by the President of the second organ to the members until that organ has itself given a candidate the required majority of votes.

If the Assembly and the Council do not select the same candidate, they will proceed to a second meeting and, if necessary, a third meeting, following the same procedures. If the vacancy remains unfilled after a third meeting, a special procedure set out in the Statute of the Court may be resorted to at the request of either the Assembly or the Council. According to Article 12 of the Statute, a joint conference of six members, three from the Assembly and three from the Council, may be formed to choose, by the vote of an absolute majority, one name for each seat still vacant. Such name or names will be submitted to the Assembly and the Council for their respective acceptance.

If the joint conference is satisfied that it will not be successful in procuring an election, those members of the Court who have already been elected shall, within a period to be fixed by the Security Council, fill the vacant seats by selection from among those candidates who have obtained votes either in the Assembly or in the Council. In the event of an equality of votes among the judges, the eldest judge shall have a casting vote.

In another document (document A/56/373-S/2001/882), the Secretary-General submits a list of nominations of candidates by national groups, and a memorandum of the Secretary-General (document A/56/374-S/2001/883) gives the curricula vitae of candidates nominated by national groups.

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