Justice BhandariIn The International Court Of Justice Would Be Powerful Asset For India


New Delhi: India's nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) DalveerBhandari was re-elected to the last seat of the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate Christopher Greenwood from the election.

Bhandari received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all the 15 votes in the Security Council after separate and simultaneous elections were held at the UN headquarters in New York for the nine-year term.

The permanent members of the Security Council, the US, Russia, France and China were understood to have been throwing their weight behind Greenwood. Britain is the fifth permanent member of the Security Council.

The voting in the General Assembly which overwhelmingly favoured India is reflective of the new global order, which is not pleasant to the world powers.

Why is the ICJ judge so significant for India?

Analysts say the election is crucial for India, as it is a litmus test for the support it enjoys in the world body where New Delhi has been campaigning for reforms, including for a permanent seat in the powerful UN Security Council.

Moreover according to Shashi Tharoor, Congress party MP and former UN undersecretary general, "There is an element of prestige to have an Indian elected to such a position."

Bhandari's election is also important because India, earlier this year, took Pakistan to the ICJ to seek consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, who has been in Pakistani custody and sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court over allegations of being an "Indian spy". 

The final judgment on that will be delivered in December. Pakistan had recently appointed an ad-hoc judge to the ICJ for the case. If Bhandarihad lost, India would have been without its own judge in the court.

Wider International implications
The contest pitched a declining UK and a rising India in a high-voltage diplomatic battle. It demonstrated the inexorable shift of power to countries like India and the extreme reluctance of the ancient regime to accept the change. 

It is no longer about the judge or the country he/she hails from, but about the UN General Assembly standing up against a member of a privileged club who has lost comprehensively among the members at large but still leads 9-6 in the Security Council as was the case in the last few rounds of voting. 

Also at stake for India and the world is the fact this contest is ultimately about the idea of justice, of equality and fairness. "It is about the future we envisage for the United Nations and the conduct of multilateralism. The time for reform is now,” said Tharoor.

There have been 5 cases regarding India so far in the history of the ICJ with the 2016 Kulbhushan Jadhav case being the most recent one. The ICJ has heard 130 cases so far in its history and has usually rendered judgement within a period of two years from date of filing.



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