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Justice Bhandari gets another term as judge at ICJ as Britain withdraws candidate

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Justice Bhandari gets another term as judge at ICJ as Britain withdraws candidate

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After a long drawn, close contest, India’s nominee Justice Dalveer Bhandari got elected to the fifth and last remaining vacancy for a judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday (November 21) as United Kingdom’s (UK) Christopher Greenwood relented and withdrew.

India had re-nominated Justice Bhandari for another term at the ICJ this year when it realised, after Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case wa taken to the ICJ, that it was advisable to have a presence in the world court.

The ICJ consists of 15 judges, with five judges elected every three years for a 9-year term. Four judges had been re-elected to the ICJ but the fifth member could not be declared elected on Nov 9 as it remained deadlocked. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) voted for Bhandari 115/193 against 76/193 to Greenwood, while the Security Council (UNSC) vote went to Greenwood 9/15. To be elected, a nominee has to obtain a majority in both the UNGA and the UNSC. (See Box below)

The deadlock continued after a dozen rounds of voting and finally, the overwhelming UNGA support to India’s nominee forced Britain to withdraw its candidate from the race. Bhandari, 70, received 183-193 votes in the General Assembly and secured all 15 votes in the Security Council to fill the final vacancy. Britain is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and that the other permanent members – US, Russia, France and China — were all rooting for Britain’s candidature. Perhaps India’s candidature was more acceptable to UNSC members than Britain’s was to majority of UNGA members.

Indian officials maintained that voting in the General Assembly which overwhelmingly favoured India is reflective of the new global order with its new alignments and power equations. There was pressure on India to withdraw its candidature in favour of UK, say analysts, but it was firmly put down. India ruled out any compromise and lobbied hard that the candidate who enjoys the overwhelming support of the General Assembly members can be the only legitimate candidate to go through.

For Britain it was a loss of face. This was the first time since the tribunal started in 1946 that the country lost a seat at the top table.

Others elected to the top table after four rounds of voting were Ronny Abraham of France, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf of Somalia, Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil and Nawaf Salam of Lebanon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1511259928856{padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #dbdbdb !important;border-radius: 10px !important;}”]ICJ Election procedure

The General Assembly and the Security Council proceed, independently of one another, to elect five members of the Court.

To be elected, a candidate must obtain an absolute majority of votes both in the General Assembly and in the Security Council. The words “absolute majority” are interpreted as meaning a majority of all electors, whether or not they vote or are allowed to vote. Thus 97 votes constitute an absolute majority in the General Assembly and 8 votes constitute an absolute majority in the Security Council (with no distinction being made between permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council).

Only those candidates whose names appear on the ballot papers are eligible for election. Each elector in the General Assembly and in the Security Council may vote for not more than five candidates on the first ballot and, on subsequent ballots for five less the number of candidates who have already obtained an absolute majority.

When five candidates have obtained the required majority in one of the organs, the president of that organ notifies the president of the other organ of the names of the five candidates. The president of the latter does not communicate such names to the members of that organ until that organ itself has given five candidates the required majority of votes.

After both the General Assembly and the Security Council have produced a list of five names that received an absolute majority of the votes, the two lists are compared. Any candidate appearing on both lists is elected. But if fewer than five candidates have been thus elected, the two organs proceed, again independently of one another, at a second meeting and, if necessary, a third meeting to elect candidates by further ballots for seats remaining vacant, the results again being compared after the required number of candidates have obtained an absolute majority in each organ.

If after the third meeting, one or more seats still remain unfilled, the General Assembly and the Security Council may form a joint conference consisting of six members, three appointed by each organ. This joint conference may, by an absolute majority, agree upon one name for each seat still vacant and submit the name for the respective acceptance of the General Assembly and the Security Council. If the joint conference is unanimously agreed, it may submit the name of a person not included in the list of nominations, provided that candidate fulfills the required conditions of eligibility to be a judge on the ICJ.

If the General Assembly and the Security Council ultimately are unable to fill one or more vacant seats, then the judges of the ICJ who have already been elected shall proceed to fill the vacant seats by selection from among those candidates who have obtained votes either in the General Assembly or in the Security Council. In the event of a tie vote among the judges, the eldest judge shall have a casting vote.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Who is Justice Bhandari?

Justice Dalveer Bhandari (70) is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India and a former Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. Hailing from a family of lawyers – his father Mahaveer Chand Bhandari and grandfather BC  Bhandari were members of the Rajasthan bar. He practised at the Supreme Court as a lawyer before being elevated as judge at the Bombay High Court.

He earned a Masters of Law from Northwestern University School of Law and worked at the Northwestern Legal Assistance Clinic and also practised for a while in Chicago courts on behalf of litigants of that clinic.

He has been a fellow of the Centre for Research in Chicago and his erudition led him to travel internationally. He was conferred the Doctor of Laws (LL.D) by Tumkur University, Karnataka.

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India News

PM Modi proposes to host COP33 in India in 2028

The 28th conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC), refered as COP28, is currently taking place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12.

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Prime Minister Modi was addressing the COP28 climate summit in Dubai on Friday, he proposed hosting COP33 in India in 2028. PM Modi said  India is committed to UN framework for climate change process. That is why, from this stage, he proposed to host COP33 Summit in India in 2028.

The 28th conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations framework Convention on climate change (UNFCCC), refered as COP28, is currently taking place in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from November 30 to December 12.

As a special gesture by the UAE, PM Narendra Modi was given the honour of speaking at the Ceremonial opening of the summit, in which discussion will held on issues regarding climate change in the coming days. He said he announced one more pro planet, pro active and positive initiative- green credit initiative.

PM Modi said India’s goal is to bring down the emissions intensity by 45 % till 2030 and also said the country has decided to increase the share of non fossil fuel to 50%. He said India will keep going ahead towards the goal of net zero by 2070.

PM Modi will also attend three other high level events on the sidelines of the summit. Bilateral meetings with World Leaders like Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Israeli President Issac Herzog.

The COP28 conference brings together the heads of the state, climate activists, government ministers, scientists and other stake holders from all over the world so that discussion can take place and action can be taken on climate change. The key themes of the conference include slashing energy emissions before 2030 and fast tracking the energy transition, transforming climate finance, putting nature, lives, people and livelihood at the heart of climate action and mobilizing for more inclusive COP ever.

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US looks forward to seeing results, says Antony Blinken as India probes Pannu murder plot

White House spokesperson John Kirby earlier echoed Blinken’s remarks, but cushioned the statement by stressing the importance of the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

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Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State on Thursday said that Washington takes very seriously the allegations that an Indian government official was involved in a foiled plot to murder Khalistani terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. Speaking to the media at Tel Aviv, the US top diplomat said that he couldn’t comment in detail on the matter as it was under judicial consideration, but welcomed the investigation launched by India into the alleged plot to kill Pannu.

He added that a number of them have raised this directly with the Indian government in past weeks. He mentioned that the Indian government announced that it was conducting an investigation, adding that it is good and appropriate, and that they look forward to seeing the results.

White House spokesperson John Kirby earlier echoed Blinken’s remarks, but cushioned the statement by stressing the importance of the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Addressing a press conference, he said that India remains a strategic partner, and they are going to continue to work to improve and strengthen that strategic partnership with India. He noted that at the same time, they take the aforesaid allegations and investigation very seriously.

John Kirby was responding to a question about the US Justice Department’s indictment of Indian citizen Nikhil Gupta, which accused him of working with an Indian government agency employee to hire a hitman to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a US citizen and founder of the Khalistani outfit, Sikhs for Justice.

Kirby further acknowledged India’s responsiveness to the matter, stating that they are glad to see that India is also taking it seriously by announcing their own efforts to investigate this. He added that the US has been clear that they want to see anybody that’s responsible for these alleged crimes to be held properly accountable.

Meanwhile, India has already constituted an investigation team to probe the allegations relating to the foiled plot to kill Pannun. The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Thursday described it as a matter of concern and also contrary to government policy the US linking an Indian official to the man charged with the alleged conspiracy.

As per reports, Nikhil Gupta, 52, has been charged with two counts of murder-for-hire and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire for allegedly participating in the Pannun murder plot. He can be sentenced to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, if convicted.

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Afghanistan shuts its embassy in Delhi, says persistent challenges from Indian government

The statement claimed that efforts have been made to tarnish their image and hinder diplomatic efforts in order to justify the presence and work of Taliban-appointed and affiliated diplomats.

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The Afghanistan embassy on Thursday has announced its permanent closure in New Delhi. Issuing an official statement, the Afghan embassy noted that effective from November 23, 2023 due to persistent challenges from the Indian government they have decided the closure of its diplomatic mission in New Delhi. 

The statement further mentioned that the decision follows the embassy’s earlier cessation of operations on September 30, a move made in the hope that the Indian government stance will favourably change to let the mission operate normally. In addition, the embassy said it was cognisant that some may attempt to characterise this move as an internal conflict, allegedly involving diplomats who switched allegiance to the Taliban, adding that this decision is a result of broader changes in policy and interests.

The statement further stated that the embassy extends its sincere gratitude to the Afghan citizens in India for their understanding and support throughout their mission’s tenure. The Afghan embassy further mentioned that despite limitations in resources and power it has worked tirelessly for their betterment and in the absence of a legitimate government in Kabul.

In the statement, the Afghan embassy noted that over the past two years and three months, the Afghan community in India has witnessed a significant decline, with Afghan refugees, students, and traders leaving the country, adding that the number has nearly halved since August 2021, with very limited new visas being issued during this period.

It added that they assure the Afghan community that the mission operated with transparency, accountability, and a commitment to fair treatment based on the goodwill and interests of Afghanistan considering historic ties and bilateral relations with India.

The statement claimed that efforts have been made to tarnish their image and hinder diplomatic efforts in order to justify the presence and work of Taliban-appointed and affiliated diplomats. In the face of these challenges, our committed team worked diligently in the most difficult circumstances, prioritizing the interests of the 40 million Afghans in every possible sphere from securing humanitarian aid and online education scholarships to facilitating ease in trade and advocating for the formation of a broad-based government, the Afghan embassy added.

As per reports, the Afghan embassy announced the closure of its operations on November 1, citing lack of resources and failure to meet Afghanistan’s interests by the Taliban regime.

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