NEW YORK: India’s nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Dalveer Bhandari was on Tuesday re-elected to the last seat of the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate from the election.
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 the United Kingdom, in a dramatic turn of events, withdrew out of the race for the Hague-based ICJ, thus paving the way for Bhandari’s re-election to the prestigious world court.
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, the US, Russia, France and China, were understood to have been throwing their weight behind Greenwood. Britain is the fifth permanent member of the Security Council.
In a dramatic turn of events, the British Permanent Representative to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, wrote identical letters to the presidents of the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council, before the two chambers were scheduled to meet at 3 pm (local time) for the 12th round of voting.
Readout simultaneously by both the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council, Rycroft said that its candidate Judge Christopher Greenwood had decided to withdraw from the election to the 15-membered ICJ. He along with Bhandari were seeking re-election for the nine-year term.
The Indian leadership is upbeat over the re-election of its nominee as the ICJ is due to begin hearing of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case who is in Pakistan custody after being arrested in Balochistan for spying and terrorist activities.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi credited on Tuesday the efforts of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign ministry officials for the re-election of Dalveer Bhandari to ICJ.
An international law expert claimed the nomination of Indian judge for the period of nine years would be harmful to Pakistani interests in the long term. Pakistan was supporting the candidate fielded by the UK.
The total number of judges at the international court of justice is 15, and a third of them are up for re-election every three years.
In May, India approached the ICJ to save Kulbhushan Jadhav’s life after he was handed out the death penalty in Pakistan on spying charges.
The ICJ has stayed Pakistan’s execution order and is hearing the case.
Pakistan’s legal team will supplement all proofs of the Indian spy’s involvement in the terror activities, including his video and written confessions to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav case on December 13.
The reply reportedly is based on the Vienna Convention and contains proofs of Jhadav’s involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan and objections to India’s stance submitted to the court. The team will possibly apprise the court about Jhadav’s involvement in fomenting terror in the country on the directives of RAW.
Jhadav, an Indian navy officer and Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) operative, was apprehended by law enforcement agencies on March 3, 2016, after he illegally crossed over into Pakistan.
Later, a military court sentenced him to death in April on the charges of espionage and terrorism. However, the ICJ in May halted his execution on India’s appeal.
Following the submission of Pakistan’s response, the ICJ will fix a date for the hearing and will review the replies both from Pakistan and India. The legal teams of the two countries will also present their arguments.