Joan Donoghue is elected to replace Judge Thomas Buergenthal at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The United Nations Security Council (SC) and the General Assembly (GA) appointed Joan E. Donoghue, the former Principal Deputy Legal Adviser in the US Department of State, to become a judge at the ICJ in the Hague.
The SC voted unanimously and Donoghue obtained an absolute majority vote during a separate meeting of the General Assembly.
She succeeds judge Thomas Buergenthal, also of the US. His term at the ICJ was due to expire early 2015, but he resigned earlier this year.
Ms. Donoghue currently serves as Principal Deputy Legal Advisor in the US Department of State.
As a senior attorney, her duties included advising Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama on aspects of international law.
She was also involved in advising on the drafting and implementation of the resolutions of, among others, the SC.
Hillary Clinton described the new judge as “judicious, fair, an extraordinary international legal counsel, and an excellent choice for the Court”.
With their appointment, Hanqin and Donoghue become only the second and third woman to serve as judges in the history of the Court.
Another ICJ judge, Ms Xue Hanqin, was elected on June 29, 2010. A former Chinese diplomat and member of the International Law Commission, she succeeds Judge Shi Jiuyong, who resigned on May 28 this year.
Judges election procedures were recently criticised after research showed politically motivated voting is leading to unqualified candidates.
Established in 1945 under the UN Charter, the ICJ settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs or specialized agencies. It is sometimes referred to as the World Court.