For the first time in 71 years, a judge from the UK will not be a part of the International Court of Justice (ICJ.) After an acrimonious competition, the British candidate withdrew allowing the Indian candidate to take the last spot.
The 11th round of voting was being conducted in New York on Monday. Minutes after the voting began, a letter from the UK Mission was released. The letter addressed to the UN announced Sir Christopher Greenwood would step down and accept defeat. Allowing the Indian candidate Dalveer Bhandari to fill the last vacancy on the ICJ.
The decision to bow out was a humiliating blow to the British international prestige. This gave a view of the country’s diminishing status in international affairs. India had the advantage of being a better country to trade with than the UK, post Brexit.
The United Nations (UN) General Assembly and the Security Council elect the 15 judges for a term of nine years making up the ICJ. In the earlier rounds of elections judges from Somalia, France, Lebanon and Brazil were elected.
A majority of votes from both the General Assembly and the Security Council is required to win a place. Last weeks elections ended with Bhandari getting 121 votes from the General Assembly and Greenwood secured only 68. But Greenwood had a majority of 9 votes from the Security Council while compared to Bhandari’s five votes.
The results of last weeks elections led to days of diplomatic lobbying and in the end of the bitter fight, UK withdrew. The letter from the permanent representative from the UK to the UN, Matthew Rycroft said, “The current deadlock is unlikely to be broken by further rounds of voting. We have therefore consulted our candidate, Sir Christopher Greenwood, who has confirmed that his candidature for re election to the International Court of Justice should be withdrawn.”
Rycroft ended the letter with, “If the UK could not win in this runoff, then we are pleased that it is a close friend like India that has done so instead. We will continue to cooperate closely with India, here in the United Nations and globally.”