India's Dalveer Bhandari elected as World Court judge

Apr 28, 2012, 05:32 IST | PTI

After a gap of more than two decades, India's nominee Justice Dalveer Bhandari was today overwhelmingly elected as a judge of the International Court of Justice, defeating his Filipino rival in the UN General Assembly as well as the Security Council.

64-year-old Justice Bhandari, a senior Supreme Court Judge, will serve a 2012-18 term in the ICJ, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations based in The Hague, Netherlands. 

In simultaneous elections held at UN headquarters here today, Bhandari obtained 122 votes in the General Assembly and 13 votes in the 15-nation Security Council against his Filipino rival Justice Florentino Feliciano, who received just 58 votes in the General Assembly.

An eminent legal luminary, Bhandari has been on the Supreme Court of India since 2005 and has served in the higher Indian judiciary for over two decades. Prior to that, he had a distinguished and successful career as an attorney at law for 23 years.

The present vacancy at the ICJ was created by the resignation of Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan from the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2011.

India was last represented at the ICJ by former Supreme Court Chief Justice R S Pathak from 1988 to 1990.

A statement from the Indian mission here said Bhandari’s significant contributions to constitutional law, environmental law, human rights jurisprudence, gender justice, rule of law, protection of fundamental rights, protection of Intellectual Property Rights and to comparative law are widely recognized.

Bhandari is also a member of key international academic and legal bodies and is closely associated with a large number of Committees dealing with various aspects of International Law such as: Human Rights, Biotechnology, Sustainable Development, Securities Regulation, Trade, Nuclear Weapons, Non-Proliferation & Contemporary International Law and Space.

Acknowledging his contribution, the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago had while celebrating its 150 Years (1859-2009) selected Justice Bhandari as one of its 16 most illustrious and distinguished alumni.

The Court's role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

India had registered significant victories in elections to various UN bodies last year. It was elected to the United Nations' Joint Inspection Unit last November, defeating China in a direct fight for the lone seat from the Asia-Pacific region and returning to the UN's powerful external oversight body.

India also won seats in bodies like the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council and the International Law Commission.

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