After more than two decades, an Indian, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, senior judge in the Supreme Court of India, was elected with overwhelming majority to the International Court of Justice in New York last week.
Member states voted overwhelmingly to elect Justice Bhandari to the ICJ. In simultaneous elections held at United Nations headquarters in New York Justice Bhandari obtained 122 votes in the General Assembly and an absolute majority in the Security Council, obtaining 13 out of 15 votes.
The other candidate in the fray was Florentino P Feliciano of Philippines who received 58 votes in the General Assembly.
An eminent legal luminary, Justice 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.
Justice 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 recognised.
He is also a member of leading 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 and contemporary international law and space.
Acknowledging his outstanding contribution, the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, while celebrating its 150 Years (1859-2009) had selected Justice Bhandari as one of its 16 most illustrious and distinguished alumni.
The role of the ICJ, established in 1945, 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 authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies.
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. Justice Bhandari will serve the remainder of the term 2012-18.