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India to face U.K. in International Court of Justice judge election

Dalveer Bhandari, a file photo   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

India is putting “all efforts” to ensure the election of its nominee, Judge Dalveer Bhandari, for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after receiving a setback at the United Nations on Thursday.

Officials said on Friday that India failed to secure enough support in the first few rounds of voting for the court where the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is being heard. He is convicted of spying in Pakistan.

The next round of voting will be on Monday, when Mr. Bhandari will face off with United Kingdom candidate Christopher Greenwood, who also lost in the vote, in what is being described as a close contest. While India finished far ahead in the 193-member United Nations General Assembly, Britain got more votes in the United Nations Security Council.

The judges who won were from France, Somalia, Brazil and Lebanon, which was India’s rival in the Asia bloc.

If the next round of voting proves inconclusive, the U.N. would hold a “joint conference” made up of members from both the General Assembly and the Security Council, after which the elected judges may be asked to decide.

Handsome lead

“In the Security Council, the permanent members (U.K., U.S., France, China and Russia) have disproportionate influence. So that is an issue. But in the General Assembly, we have a handsome lead,” a senior official in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told The Hindu on Friday. Another official said the government, including MEA officials in Delhi and at the U.N. in New York, would be working the phones “over the weekend” to bring more members of the Security Council around.

To be elected, a candidate must obtain a majority of 97 votes or more in the General Assembly and also a majority of eight votes in the Security Council. During the last unsuccessful round on Friday, India won 115 to the U.K.’s 74 votes in the General Assembly, but won only six out of 15 Security Council members, while the U.K. won 9. India’s task is made more difficult, given the U.K. is a permanent member and has a vote in both the General Assembly and the Security Council.

As a result, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself taken up the issue of support with countries that he has held bilateral meetings with since last June, when India declared its nomination bid.

When asked if Mr. Modi would himself make calls in the next few days, the official said “all efforts will be put in”. “It depends on how many of the U.N. Security Council members we manage to [bring] over to our side over the weekend,” he added.

In October, Pakistan nominated an ad-hoc judge Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, according to ICJ rules, to sit on the bench.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:59:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/icj-election-india-to-face-uk/article20112991.ece

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