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India asks United Nations to follow democratic principles, elect Bhandari as ICJ judge

21 November 2017

A candidate is required to get a majority in both the UNGA and the UNSC to win the ICJ election. It had needed 9 votes in the Security Council to successfully invoke the clause, which it was hoping to secure on the basis of the 9 votes that Greenwood had won in all of the five rounds that took place during voting last Thursday - he had held a 9-5 lead over Bhandari, who had slipped from 6-8. The permanent members of the Security Council - the US, Russia, France and China - were understood to have been throwing their weight behind Greenwood.

India's bid represents the first such challenge to a P5-backed candidate.

Britain's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft, in a statement, said the UK had made a decision to withdraw Sir Chris Greenwood as a candidate for re-election as a Judge of the International Court of Justice.

He was instructed by the then attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, to examine the arguments over the legality of using force against Saddam Hussein and concluded that use of force was justified.

The world court, which is based at The Hague, hears disputes over sovereignty and worldwide borders from all over the globe. Five seats come up for election every three years.

The letter from Matthew Rycroft, the UK's permanent representative at the United Nations, said: "The current deadlock is unlikely to be broken by further rounds of voting".

Dalveer Bhandari, of India, received the absolute majority of votes in elections - conducted independently, but concurrently - at the Security Council and the General Assembly.

On Monday, the election would be presided over by the General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak, his spokesperson Brendan Varma said at a news conference at the United Nations headquarters in NY. We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates.

The election "has to be decided on the floor of the house" and not the Security Council, India's Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin said.

Diplomats have said getting two-thirds of the general assembly gives Bhandari, and India, what is called the "moral majority".

India asks United Nations to follow democratic principles, elect Bhandari as ICJ judge