Britain loses its seat on prestigious UN international court for the first time in its 71-year history

LONDON: Britain has lost its seat on the UN’s international court for the first time in its 71-year history.

British judge Christopher Greenwood was running for a second nine-year term at The Hague but has quit the race as his rival, Indian Dalveer Bhandari, was set to win. The UK’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the UK did not want to waste the ‘valuable time’ of the Security Council in pursuing the contest.

It means the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) will not have a British judge for the first time since it was set up in 1946. The withdrawal is likely to be seen as a major set back for Britain at a time the Government is insisting Brexit will not mean a diplomatic withdrawal.

Mr Bhandari will now take the position immediately, with four other judges already having been elected to the ICJ.

Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, said on Monday: ‘The UK has concluded that it is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of elections.

The UK's UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the UK did not want to waste the 'valuable time' of the Security Council in pursuing the contest

The UK’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said the UK did not want to waste the ‘valuable time’ of the Security Council in pursuing the contest

‘The UK congratulates the successful candidates, including Judge Bhandari of India.

‘We are naturally disappointed, but it was a competitive field with six strong candidates.

‘If the UK could not win in this run-off, 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 UN and globally.

‘The UK will continue to support the work of the ICJ, in line with our commitment to the importance of the rule of law in the UN system and in the international community more generally.’

The UN court settles legal disputes submitted to it by members states and provides advisory opinions on legal questions submitted to it by duly authorised international branches, agencies.

The ICJ is distinct from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which also sits at The Hague, which deals genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

 

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