posted on Mon 12 Dec 2011 10:10 AM
ICJ Elections for Final Vacant Seat

On Tuesday (13 December), the Council and General Assembly (GA) will convene for the third time in order to independently, but concurrently, elect the fifth and final remaining judge for the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The judge’s nine-year term is scheduled to commence on 6 February 2012.

On 10 November, four of the five vacant seats were filled with candidates obtaining an absolute majority in both the GA and the Council (97 and 8 votes, respectively). Yet the fifth vacant seat was not filled. Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone), who has served two terms on the Court, received the required majority in the Council while Julia Sebutinde (Uganda), currently presiding judge of Trial Chamber II at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, received the required majority in the GA.

This voting pattern continued on 22 November: Koroma received the required majority in three ballots held in the Council, leading Sebutinde by 8 votes to 7 in the last two ballots. Meanwhile, Sebutinde received the required majority in the GA in four consecutive ballots (obtaining 102 votes to 89 during the final ballot held that day).

According to the ICJ Statute, the Council and the GA may decide to convene a conference of six members (three from each organ) at this point to recommend a candidate for acceptance by both bodies. (For further information, see the previous What’s In Blue story on the ICJ elections.) However, it seems that Council members have not indicated an interest in convening a joint conference as yet.

For more information on the ICJ election process please refer to our November Forecast.