In a significant victory, a young Indian lawyer won a hotly-contested election in the UN General Assembly for membership to the world body's top body of legal experts, garnering the highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group.
Aniruddha Rajput, 33, is among the 34 individuals elected by the General Assembly as members of the International Law Commission, the UN organ tasked with the progressive development of international law and its codification. The newly elected members will serve five-year terms of office with the Geneva-based body beginning January 2017. The members have been elected from five geographical groupings of African, Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European states.
Rajput got 160 votes, topping the Asia Pacific group in the voting that was held by way of secret ballot yesterday.
Among the youngest to be elected to the nearly 70-year old body, Rajput is India's first candidate to the Commission, India's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, told PTI.
A practicising lawyer of India's Supreme Court, Rajput is also the first Indian nominee chosen from outside a close circle of lawyers of the Ministry of External Affairs. An alumnus of the London School of Economics and Political Science, Rajput was a member of an expert group appointed by the Law Commission of India to study and comment upon the Model Bilateral Investment Treaty 2015 of India, according to his profile submitted to the UN.
He has written several books, articles, and conference papers on diverse legal subjects and his areas of expertise in international law include Sources of International Law, International Arbitration, Law of the Sea, Use of Force, UN Law & Practice, and International Trade Law (WTO Law).
In response to a congratulatory tweet on Rajput's election by Burhan Gafoor, Singapore's Ambassador to the United Nations, Akbaruddin replied,
We are deeply appreciative of support extended by many, many friends of India to ensure Dr Rajput's election by a huge margin.
At 148, Japan's Shinya Murase got the second highest number of votes in the Asia-Pacific group, followed by Mahmoud Daifallah Hmoud of Jordan and Huikang Huang of China with 146 votes each, Korea's Ki Gab Park with 136 votes, Ali bin Fetais Al-Marri of Qatar with 128 votes, and Hong Thao Nguyen of Vietnam with 120 votes.
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