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20 Nov 2017

India battles Britain to get its candidate re-elected to ICJ

Will India's ICJ candidate win crucial UN election?

The UN General Assembly (GA) and Security Council (SC) will be convening to hold the 12th round of voting to break the deadlock between India's Dalveer Bhandari and Britain's Christopher Greenwood for re-election to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

India's re-election bid for Bhandari' is a true test of its diplomatic prowess.

But why is his re-election so important for India? We explain.

In context

Will India's ICJ candidate win crucial UN election?


India wins majority support at GA, loses at SC

To attain ICJ judgeship, a candidate must win elections in both the GA and SC.

So far, 11 rounds of voting have resulted in Bhandari winning the election in the GA while Greenwood wins the SC.

Greenwood has the support of the SC's five permanent members (P5) - US, UK, France, Russia, and China.

India's bid represents the first such challenge to a P5-backed candidate.

Intense lobbying

What India is doing to get Bhandari re-elected

India's request for US support on Bhandari's re-election has been discussed at the "highest level," according to The Hindu.

India is attempting to get the vote-count at the GA to a two-thirds majority at 128 from 121.

If this is achieved, "morally no judge can continue in the fray," a source has revealed.

India is also lobbying SC members to secure a higher vote-count

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Britain may invoke controversial conference mechanism clause to bypass GA

UK's trump card

Britain may invoke controversial conference mechanism clause to bypass GA

Meanwhile, Britain has indicated that it may invoke a conference mechanism if there's no clear outcome in the first round of voting.

The mechanism allows for three members of the GA and SC, each, to select the winner jointly.

India has told UN members that this would reject an overwhelming majority.

There's no way to stop the mechanism if Britain invokes it.

Kulbhushan Jadhav

Bhandari's re-election crucial because of Kulbhushan Jadhav case at ICJ

Bhandari's re-election is crucial because India took Pakistan to the ICJ to seek consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian sentenced to death in Pakistan on espionage charges.

Pakistan has appointed an ad-hoc judge to the ICJ. If Bhandari loses, India won't have its own judge in the ICJ.

The ICJ will give its final verdict on Jadhav's case in December.

Shashi Tharoor: Crucial for GA to triumph over elite P5

Fighting elitism

Shashi Tharoor: Crucial for GA to triumph over elite P5

"There is an element of prestige to have an Indian elected to such a position," said Congress MP and former UN Undersecretary General, Shashi Tharoor, about Bhandari's re-election.

Tharoor said the election is no longer about who the judge is or where he hails from.

It's about the majority of the 193-member GA against the privileged P5 countries in the SC.

Bhandari's win would be a victory to multilateralism

"It is about the future we envisage for the United Nations and the conduct of multilateralism. The time for reform is now. I call on SC members to vote for India's candidate," said Tharoor.

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