United Nations, Nov 6 : The UN General Assembly and Security Council have elected a new judge to sit on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the world body. Hilary Charlesworth, from Australia, will replace James Crawford, also from Australia, who died in May and had been on the court since 2014. She will serve a nine-year term.
Hilary Charlesworth defeated Linos-Alexander Sicilianos, from Greece, with an absolute majority of votes, becoming the fifth women judge ever at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Xinhua news agency reported.
Hilary Charlesworth is well-known as a pre-eminent scholar of international law, and has also served as a judge ad hoc for the court in two contentious rulings of the ICJ: Arbitral Award of October 3, 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela) and Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening).
The court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected by an absolute majority in both the General Assembly (97 votes) and Security Council (eight votes). The timing of elections is staggered so that the General Assembly elects a third of the court once every three years.
According to the court’s Statute, its judges must be chosen by coordinated actions of both the Council and the General Assembly, with the date of elections determined by the Council.
Judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not their nationality, but no two judges can be from the same country. Effort is also taken to ensure that the principal legal systems of the world are reflected in the composition of the court.
Established in 1945, and based in The Hague in the Netherlands, the International Court of Justice, which is also known as the World Court — settles legal disputes between states and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorized UN organs.