Indian candidate fills 15th and final place on bench of international court of justice.
Britain’s withdrawal from the election to the prestigious world court would mean that there will not be a British judge on the UN’s most powerful court for the first time in its history.
India’s nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Dalveer Bhandari was on Monday re-elected to the fifth and the last seat of the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate from the election.
Minutes after an 11th round of voting was scheduled to begin in New York on Monday, a letter was released by the UK mission to the UN announcing that Sir Christopher Greenwood would accept defeat and allow the rival Indian candidate, Dalveer Bhandari, to fill the final vacancy on the ICJ.
The decision to bow to mounting opposition within the UN general assembly is a humiliating blow to British international prestige and an acceptance of a diminished status in international affairs.
Mr. Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters in New York.
The elections were held after United Kingdom, in a dramatic turn of events, withdrew out of the race for the Hague-based ICJ, thus paving the way for Mr. Bhandari’s re-election to the prestigious world court.
Mr. Bhandari and Britain’s Christopher Greenwood were locked in a neck-and-neck fight for re-election to the ICJ.
The permanent members of the Security Council — USA, Russia, France and China — were understood to have been throwing their weight behind Mr. Greenwood. The UK is the fifth permanent member of the Security Council.
There have been calls in Indian media for the country to leave the Commonwealth if the UK exploited its position as one of the five permanent members of the security council to defend its weakened position.
The ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms by the UN general assembly and the UN security council.
Four other judges, from Brazil, France, Lebanon and Somalia, had already been elected to the ICJ in the earlier rounds.
In the last round of voting at the UN a week ago, Greenwood secured only 68 votes in the general assembly against Bhandari’s 121 votes. The British candidate, however, had nine votes in the UN security council against the Indian’s five. A majority in both the general assembly and security council was required to win a place on the ICJ bench.
Pleased to see ‘close friend’ win: UK
Congratulating Justice Bhandari, the UK said it will continue to cooperate closely with India at the United Nations and globally.
“The UK has concluded that it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of elections,” Mr. Rycroft said.
Britain, he said, congratulates the successful candidates, including Judge Bhandari of India.
“We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates,” Mr. Rycroft added.
“If the UK could not win in this run-off, then we are pleased that it is a close friend like India that has done so instead. We will continue to cooperate closely with India, here in the United Nations and globally,” he said.