UN Re-elects Abdulqawi Yusuf, a Somali Judge as Vice President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

A sitting of the international court of justice in The Hague. Photograph: Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations has re-elected Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf of Somalia as the Vice President of the International Court of Justice after winning with majority votes. In distinct, but simultaneous voting, the Assembly and the Security Council also re-elected Ronny Abraham of France. The assembly also elected two new justices, Antonio Augusto Cancado Trindade of Brazil and Nawaf Salam of Lebanon. All were elected to nine-year terms, starting in February next year.

Established in 1945, by the U.N. Charter, the ICJ is the U.N.’s main judicial body. Its mission, in accordance with international law, is to settle the disputes brought by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions raised by the U.N. bodies and specialized institutions.

To be elected, any candidate must obtain a majority of 97 votes or more in the UN general assembly and also a majority of eight votes in the UN Security Council. Voting will continue until five candidates have obtained the required majorities. The voting went into five rounds as each country had more than one vote, which complicated the voting process according to observers.

Somali diplomats at the United Nations were overjoyed to hear that their candidate won support from a majority of the General Assembly and Security Council. Yusuf had initially been elected to the chamber in November 2008. Throughout the last three years he served as the Vice President of the court.

Somali Ambassador to the U.N. Abukar Osman told VOA Somali that Yusuf’s re-election is a “victory” for Somalis around the world.
“To see a Somali judge being elected for a second time is a big victory for the Somalis, we are grateful to the support from other brothers in Africa — Djibouti, Gabon and others,” Osman said.

Ambassador Osman said Yusuf won support from around the world with a majority of his support coming from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe.“The standing and position of Somalia in the international community is returning, that has lifted our spirit, we are very happy to see the revival of Somalia. It’s a good feeling.”

Abdulqawi Yusuf was born in 1948 in Eyl, situated in northeastern Somalia. He is a Juris Doctor (Somali National University) and holds a Ph.D. in international law from the Graduate Institute of International Studies of Geneva. He is fluent in Somali, Arabic, English, French, and Italian. Prior to his doctorate, Yusuf completed post-graduate studies in international law at the University of Florence in Italy.

Source: VOA News