Judge Donoghue succeeds Thomas Buergenthal, also of the US. His term on the ICJ was due to expire in early 2015, but he resigned earlier this year.
Security Council members voted unanimously this morning to elect Judge Donoghue and she also obtained an absolute majority during a separate meeting of the General Assembly.
Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the ICJ settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by authorized UN organs or specialized agencies. It is sometimes referred to as the World Court.
Judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not on the basis of nationality, and care is taken to ensure that the principal legal systems of the world are represented. No two judges can be from the same country. They cannot engage in any other occupation during their term of office.