Judge and Prime Minister

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I was just reading today this report in the New York Review of Books on the escalating political situation in Jordan when I noticed a remarkable point which I hadn’t yet seen reported in the international blawgosphere. It appears that last month King Abdullah of Jordan appointed Judge Awn Al-Khasawneh of the International Court of Justice as Jordan’s new Prime Minister. Judge Al-Khasawneh has of course had a distinguished career both within Jordan and internationally and has accepted his new appointment.

What struck me – if I am not mistaken – is that it seems that this is the first time a serving ICJ judge (and at that one who was re-elected only a few years ago) was appointed as a head of government.  Former ICJ judges have of course held high political office even after leaving the Court, e.g. in recent years former president Bedjaoui has for a time been the foreign minister of Algeria, while judge Elaraby has briefly been the foreign minister of Egypt after the fall of Mubarak and is now the Secretary-General of the Arab League. In any case, congratulations are due to Judge Al-Khasawneh.

On a different note, it’s a bit odd that the ICJ’s website makes no mention of this development, even though I imagine Judge Al-Khasawneh already tendered his resignation as Art. 16 of the ICJ Statute would seem to require – unless the Court devised some other arrangement under the second paragraph of that article. This would mean that another election would soon have to be held, in addition to the contested remaining seat now held by Judge Koroma, on which Dapo reported earlier.



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