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It's India vs Britain for Last Seat at UN Court; Ex-SC Judge Dalveer Bhandari in the Fray

India's Dalveer Bhandari and Britain's Christopher Greenwood are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election at The Hague-based the ICJ, which has a bench of 15 judges. Five of them are elected every three years for a nine-year term.

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Updated:November 10, 2017, 9:04 AM IST
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It's India vs Britain for Last Seat at UN Court; Ex-SC Judge Dalveer Bhandari in the Fray
File photo of proceedings at the International Court of Justice. (Reuters)
Washington: UN General Assembly and Security Council members managed on Thursday to award four out of five judges International Criminal Court seats, but the fate of India’s candidate hung in the balance.

India's Dalveer Bhandari and Britain's Christopher Greenwood are locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election at The Hague-based the ICJ, which has a bench of 15 judges. Five of them are elected every three years for a nine-year term.

After five rounds of voting, Nawaf Salam of Lebanon won his bid, as did current leader of the court Ronny Abraham of France, his vice president Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia and Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil. Their terms expire on February 5, 2018.

The 193 assembly members and 15 council members will reconvene Monday at 1:30am IST on Tuesday in the hopes of deciding between Dalveer Bhandari and Christopher Greenwood.

Stakes are high for both India and Britain for the last seat. In the fourth round, Bhandari received a majority — 115 votes — in the General Assembly, while Greenwood received 76 votes. However, in the 15-member Security Council, Greenwood got majority (9) of the votes as against six votes by Bhandari.

The process has proved arduous: the 193 Assembly members and 15 council-members must choose the same candidates simultaneously while voting with paper ballots in separate rooms. To win a spot contenders must also obtain a majority of 97 votes in the Assembly and eight in the Security Council.

Regulation requires new ballots until both UN arms reach the same conclusion at the same time.

Throughout the day voting was interrupted with lengthy breaks, especially at the Council where just 15 members means a faster process.

The ICC is made up of 15 members, and a third of them are up for re-election every three years.

In 2014 it took seven rounds in the General Assembly and four in the Security Council to elect five judges.

Based in The Hague, the ICC is tasked with prosecuting those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity when national courts are unwilling or unable.

A former judge of the Supreme Court, Bhandari, 70, was elected to the International Court of Justice in April 27, 2012 following a vacancy after the resignation of sitting court judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh from Jordon on being appointed as the Prime Minister.

Bhandari had received 122 votes in the UN General assembly as against 58 for Florentino Feliciano from the Philippines.

(With agency inputs)

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