International Court of Justice names its first female president

6 February 2006

The United Nations main judicial body today turned to a British international legal expert who became its first and only female member more than a decade ago to serve as its first woman president.

Rosalyn Higgins was elected president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by her peers at The Hague while Judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan was elected Vice-President. Each term is for three years.

A noted international legal scholar, professor and author who served as the Queen’s Counsel in 1986, Ms. Higgins was first named to the Court in July 1995 and was re-elected in February of 2000. She was named Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1995.

Mr. Al-Khasawneh became a member of the Court in February 2000. A veteran Jordanian diplomat, he has represented his country at numerous sessions of the UN General Assembly’s Legal Committee as well as at various international conferences.

The 15-member ICJ settles disputes between States and gives advisory opinions to UN organs and specialized agencies. There are now 10 cases on the Court’s docket.


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