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UNITED
NATIONS
A

        General Assembly
A/68/PV.53
18 November 2013

General Assembly
Sixty-eighth session

53rd plenary meeting
Monday, 18 November 2013, 10 a.m.
New York

President: Mr. Ashe ...........................................(Antigua and Barbuda)
In the absence of the President, Mrs. Miculescu (Romania), Vice-President, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.



/...

Agenda item 129

International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991

The Acting President: The General Assembly will proceed to the election of one permanent judge of the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991 for a four-year term of office commencing on the date of election.

In connection with the election today of the one permanent judge, I should like to bring the following matters to the attention of the General Assembly.

First, according to article 13 bis, paragraph 1, of the statute of the International Tribunal as amended by Security Council resolutions 1166 (1998), of 13 May 1998, and 1329 (2000), of 30 November 2000, the one permanent judge of the International Tribunal shall be elected by the General Assembly from a list of candidates submitted by the Security Council.

In accordance with article 13 bis, sub-paragraph 1 (c), of the statute of the International Tribunal, a list of six candidates, taking due account of the adequate representation of the principal legal systems of the world, was formally conveyed to the President of the General Assembly by a letter dated 3 October 2013 from the President of the Security Council (A/68/516).

Secondly, in accordance with article 13 bis, sub-paragraph 1 (d), of the statute of the International Tribunal, the Holy See and the State of Palestine, non-member States maintaining permanent observer missions at United Nations Headquarters, shall participate in the election in the same manner as the States Members of the United Nations. On this occasion, I am happy to welcome here the observers of the Holy See and the State of Palestine.

/...

In accordance with article 13 bis, sub-paragraph 1 (d), of the statute of the International Tribunal, the candidate who receives an absolute majority of the votes of States Members of the United Nations and of the non-member States maintaining permanent observer missions at United Nations Headquarters shall be declared elected.

The consistent practice of the United Nations has been to interpret the words “absolute majority” as meaning a majority of all electors, whether or not they vote or are allowed to vote. The electors, for this purpose, are all the Member States, totalling 193, and two non-member States, namely, the Holy See and the State of Palestine. Accordingly, 98 votes constitute an absolute majority for the purpose of electing a permanent judge of the International Tribunal.

/...

The Acting President: Having obtained an absolute majority, Mr. Koffi Afande (Togo) is elected a member of the International Tribunal for a four-year term beginning on 18 November 2013.

I take this opportunity to extend to the Judge the congratulations of the Assembly on his election and to thank the tellers for their assistance.

I now give the floor to the Observer of the Observer State of Palestine.

Mr. Mansour (Palestine): I take the floor to express, on behalf of the State of Palestine, the feeling of a proud people on this special occasion in our history at the General Assembly, in which the State of Palestine has participated for the first time in this election. It is an important step in our march for freedom and independence and for full membership at the United Nations. The reaction of almost all members of the General Assembly to our voting is a clear message that the Assembly is ready for our membership. We, along with them, cannot wait for that moment, which we hope will occur very soon.

The Acting President: I now give the floor to the representative of Israel.

Mr. Roet (Israel): Israel congratulates Judge Afande and welcomes his election. I apologize for being forced to ruin what should have been a celebratory and professional vote. Unfortunately, that is not yet the case. Again, we see the representative of the Palestinian Authority trying to hijack precious time. I have no issue with the Palestinian Authority celebrating what it deems a historic vote. That should have been done outside the Hall. I regret that. What forces me to speak is the fact that Israel maintains its position that the Palestinian Authority is not a State and that it clearly fails to meet the criteria for statehood.

I wish to stress that the manner in which that delegation has participated in the proceedings today has no effect on its status and does not confer statehood. There is only one route to Palestinian statehood. That route does not run through the meeting rooms in New York, but through direct negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah, which, hopefully, we pray, will lead to a secure and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Acting President: May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude its consideration of agenda item 129?

It was so decided.

The meeting rose at 12.20 p.m.


This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room U-506. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.



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