Ugandan judge elected to serve on UN World Court

13 December 2011

The General Assembly and the Security Council today elected a Ugandan jurist to fill the final vacancy on the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

Julia Sebutinde obtained an absolute majority in both the Assembly and the Council, a requirement for successful candidates, during voting this afternoon at UN Headquarters in New York.

Ms. Sebutinde obtained 97 votes in the Assembly, compared to 93 for rival candidate Abdul G. Koroma of Sierra Leone, while in the Council she obtained nine votes and Mr. Koroma received six.

The new judge will serve a nine-year term on the ICJ, also known as the World Court, starting on 5 February next year.

She joins Italy’s Giorgio Gaja, Hisashi Owada of Japan, Slovakian Peter Tomka and China’s Xue Hanqin, who were all elected early last month during the first round of simultaneous voting in the Assembly and Council.

The Assembly and Council had been deadlocked on the final vacancy, with Ms. Sebutinde obtaining a majority in the Assembly and Mr. Koroma a majority in the Council during previous rounds of voting.

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 ICJ settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorized UN organs.


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