India’s Dalveer Bhandari Re-Elected to ICJ After Britain Pulls Out

Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council.

2 min read
Former Supreme Court judge Dalveer Bhandari.

India's nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Dalveer Bhandari was, on 21 November, 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.


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.

PM Modi Credits Sushma For Bhandari’s Victory

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on 21 November, credited the efforts of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and MEA officials for the re-election of Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice.

He also expressed gratitude to members of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council for "their support and trust in India."

He also congratulated Justice Bhandari on his re- election to the International Court of Justice.

Meanwhile, Sushma Swaraj congratulated Bhandari on making it to the last seat, thanking India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Syed Akbaruddin for his efforts.


Britain's Withdrawal

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.

Read out 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.

In the 11 rounds of voting, Bhandari had got nearly two- thirds of the votes in the General Assembly, and in Security Council Greenwood consistently received nine votes as against five for his opponent. This resulted in a stalemate.

As per the letter read out simultaneously in the General Assembly and the Security Council, Rycroft said the current deadlock is unlikely to be broken by further rounds of voting.

New World Order

As such Rycroft announced withdrawal from the race. With Bhandari being the only candidate left in the race, the General Assembly and Security Council still went through the formal motion of voting to complete the formalities.

The voting in the General Assembly, which overwhelmingly favours India, is reflective of the new global order, which is not pleasant to the world powers.

India has been seeking that the democratic process need to be played its full course in both the Security Council and the General Assembly, and there should not be an intervention or adoption of a process that has never been used before or the one that undermines the voice of the majority.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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