Dr Neeru Chadha has become the first Indian woman to be elected as a judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas (ITLOS). Dr Chadha is the second Indian woman to occupy a top position at the United Nations after Lakshmi Pandit who served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly. She has also earned the distinction of being the first woman to be appointed by the Ministry of External Affairs as a chief advisor and was a member of the Legal and Treaties Division of the Ministry, according to Bar and Bench. International law expert Neeru Chadha has won a crucial election to a top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea, becoming the first Indian woman to be appointed as a judge at the tribunal.
Dr Neeru Chadha had been India’s lead counsel during the trial of two Italian Marines over the death of two fishermen from Kerala. Dr Chadha had represented India at the permanent court of arbitral tribunal at The Hague. She also represented India after Italy had filed a case at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Dr Chadha had also represented India after the Marshall Islands accused India of not abiding by its nuclear disarmament obligations, as reported by the Quint.
India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin expressed gratitude for the broad support of countries that resulted in Chadha’s “emphatic success” at the elections to the ITLOS. “It reflects both an appreciation of India’s global standing in matters of international law and the recognition for Chadha’s expertise as a lawyer and negotiator on contemporary issues related to the Law of the Seas,” Akbaruddin told PTI. “The Tribunal is composed of 21 independent members who are elected from among persons enjoying the highest reputation for fairness and integrity and of recognised competence in the field of the law of the sea,” according to the information on the ITLOS website.
India’s Dr Neeru Chadha records handsome victory.
First Indian woman to be elected to International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas. pic.twitter.com/vrP3EHGDlh
— Syed Akbaruddin (@AkbaruddinIndia) June 14, 2017
Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson in New Delhi hailed Chadha’s elections to the ITLOS saying, “Indian expertise on ITLOS stage! Neeru Chadha elected as 1st woman on Int’l Tribunal 4 Law of Seas w/ most votes in Asia Pacific Group.” The Hamburg-based ITLOS, established in 1996, is one of dispute settlement mechanisms under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that entered into force in 1994. Chadha has extensive international arbitration and litigation experience, having served as an agent for the Indian government in its maritime delimitation case with Bangladesh.
International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas, is an intergovernmental organisation under the ambit of the United Nations. The body governs the laws on international waters. Chadha holds law degrees including PhD in law from the University of Delhi and the University of Michigan.
She has represented the Indian government in various other multilateral meetings and conferences in the United Nations, AALCO (Asian-African Legal Consultative Organisation), UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law), UNCITRAL (UN Commission on International Trade Law). Chadha has also represented Indian government at The Hague Conference, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and ay of Bengal Initiative for Multi- Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) on subjects relating to human rights, humanitarian law, international trade, international terrorism and international criminal law.