Justice Bhandari’s ICJ elevation another UN feat

NEW DELHI: The successful election of Dr Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the Hague-based International Court of Justice comes as part of a series of straight Indian wins on world bodies—a conseque

Published: 29th April 2012 01:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2012 07:45 PM   |  A+A-


Justice Dalveer Bhandari

NEW DELHI: The successful election of Dr Justice Dalveer Bhandari to the Hague-based International Court of Justice comes as part of a series of straight Indian wins on world bodies—a consequence of well-mounted election campaigns.

On Friday, Dr Justice Bhandari, a senior Judge in the Supreme Court, got more than double the number of votes of his rival Florentino P Feliciano of Philippines. Polls were held simultaneously in United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

He got 122 votes in the UNGA and another 13 votes from the Security Council. The other candidate in the fray was Florentino P Feliciano of Philippines who received 58 votes in the General Assembly, and just two votes in the UNSC.

 India’s permanent representative to UN, Hardeep Puri is currently accompanying the Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon on a official visit to India.  When The Sunday Standard contacted him in Mumbai escorting the UNSG, Puri said that he was “thrilled” with the election victory.

Talking about the significance of the victory, Puri pointed, “ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.” Dr Justice Bhandari will be the fourth Indian to serve on the bench of the ICJ, with the last term of an Indian judge having ended in 1991.

 The ICJ has acquired a higher role in recent years, with more and more countries bringing their disputes for adjudication.  Further, Security Council could also be approaching the ICJ for its advisory opinion on various legal questions to address complex international issues.

According to sources, the election victory was the result of a well-mounted and comprehensive campaign, coordinated by the Permanent Mission of India in New York.

 It comes in a long line of victories in major UN bodies, heralded by India’s election as a temporary member to the Security Council in 2010.

That same year, India beat out China, Japan and Pakistan to win a coveted position in the UN’s financial scrutiny body, Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions by a record

164 votes.

Then last year in November, there was India-China faceoff for election to the UN Joint Inspection Unit, which the Indian candidate A Gopinathan won comprehensively—106 to 77 votes in the UNGA.

Despite India’s multilateral diplomats now adept at running a “well-oiled election machine”, Delhi had given orders for an intensive campaign to be mounted for the ICJ election, which is taken very seriously by foreign countries.

It started as a three-way fight, but the Lebanese candidate withdrew, leaving only the main opposition from Philippines, a highly-regarded international jurist.

“We reached out to all the UN members through their capitals, on instructions from the foreign secretary,” said a senior MEA official. The external affairs minister, S M Krishna had also taken it up with his counterpart during

bilateral talks.

Then, Puri had also spoken to all his counterparts while on a visit to the UN offices in Geneva. “Our strategy paid off. We not only won a convincing, but a decisive victory,” said a Ministry of External

Affairs official.


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