SC judge beats Filipino rival to bag ICJ job

Written by Indu Bhan | Indu Bhan | New Delhi | Updated: Apr 30 2012, 07:01am hrs
After a gap of more than two decades, Indias nominee Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, has been elected as a judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), defeating his Filipino rival in the UN General Assembly as well as the Security Council.

Bhandari secured 122 votes in the United Nations General Assembly in New York against 58 for his Filipino rival, Syed Akbaruddin. He will take the place of Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan who resigned from the Asia-Pacific region seat in 2011. The 64-year-old Bhandari was to retire from the SC in September this year.

On being elected, Bhandari said he will carry with him ethos, culture and Indian jurisprudence of over 1.2 billion Indians to the world. More than a victory, it is a tribute to the Indian judicial system, the Supreme Court, the countrys significant contributions to human rights jurisprudence, Indian access to justice and protection of fundamental rights, he told FE.

The eminent legal luminary will serve a 2012-18 term in the ICJ, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations based in Hague, The Netherlands. India was last represented at the ICJ by former Supreme Court chief justice RS Pathak from 1988 to 1990. The ICJs role 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.

Justice Bhandari said that previously work in ICJ was not much, but now for the last two years work has increased tremendously. Countries are reposing trust and confidence in the ICJ, which was not there.

About new challenges, he said, Once you become a member of ICJ, nationality, race religion and place of birth have no relevance. There are larger endeavours do good for the world and the universe, be it environment and ecology, territorial and maritime issues.

India had registered significant victories in elections to various UN bodies last year. It was elected to the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit last November, defeating China in a direct fight for the lone seat from the Asia-Pacific region and returning to the UNs powerful external oversight body.

India also won seats in the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, Ecosoc, Human Rights Council and the International Law Commission.