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Madam Xue Hanqin Elected Judge of the International Court of Justice


On 11 and 12 November 2020, the elections of five Judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) were held simultaneously at the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. The Chinese candidate Madam Xue Hanqin, currently serving as the Vice-President of the ICJ, was re-elected with high votes.

Judge Xue Hanqin was first elected to the ICJ in June 2010 and was re-elected in November 2011. She has been Vice-President of the Court since February 2018, the first female of Chinese nationality to serve on the bench and the first female Vice-President of the Court. Prior to her career in the ICJ, Madam Xue was a member and chair of the United Nations International Law Commission. She used to be Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Legal Counsel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands, and Chinese Ambassador to ASEAN. Before the election, Judge Xue was nominated a candidate for re-election as a member of the ICJ by 27 National Groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, including China, the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Colombia and Mexico.

After the first round of balloting, tThe other (3 or 4) elected judges are: [Yuji Iwasawa (Japan), Georg Nolte (Germany), Peter Tomka (Slovakia), Julia Sebutinde (Uganda)]. The second round of balloting is scheduled for 12 November to elect the remaining seat(s). The newly elected judges will serve for a term of nine years, beginning on 6 February 2021.

The ICJ, which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands and formally began its operations in 1946, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court’s role is to settle legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations bodies such as the General Assembly and the Security Council.

The Court is composed of 15 judges of different nationalities, all of whom are “persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law”. Five judges of the Court are elected every three years and may be re-elected, with the requirement of obtaining an absolute majority of votes in the General Assembly and the Security Council for their election.

China is always an advocate of multilateralism and peaceful settlement of international disputes. China supports the International Court of Justice in faithfully implementing its duties and contributing to the maintenance of international peace and security and the promotion of international equity and justice.

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