Lebanese judge Nawaf Salam elected president of ICJ

The former ambassador to the UN becomes the second Arab to hold the position at the ICJ

Nawaf Salam is the first Lebanese to occupy this position. Photo: ICJ
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Lebanon’s Judge Nawaf Salam was elected on Tuesday as President of the international Court of Justice for a three-year term.

Mr Salam, who has been a member of the ICJ since 2018, called his election a “major responsibility in achieving international justice and upholding international law”.

“The first thing that also comes to my mind at this moment is my constant concern for my city, Beirut, to return to the laws, as is its title, and for us to succeed as Lebanese in establishing the rule of law in our country and for justice to prevail among its people,” he said.

Mr Salam is the first Lebanese and second Arab to occupy this position. He is a former ambassador to the UN in New York.

Karim Bitar, professor of international relations at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, told The National that his election brings some pride and comfort at a time when “justice, human rights and international law are trampled upon”.

Member of Lebanon's Parliament, Tony Frangieh said Mr Salam's “achievement stands as a testament to the limitless potential of the Lebanese people”.

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Mr Salam, who was Lebanon’s ambassador to the UN from 2007 to 2017, was also repeatedly considered in 2019 as a possible contender for Lebanon's prime minister.

But his candidacy faced obstacles from Iran-backed group Hezbollah, due to concerns over his close ties with Washington.

Before his appointment as ambassador to the UN, Mr Salam practised law since 1984.

He had also taught contemporary history at the Sorbonne University and international relations and law at the American University of Beirut.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 8:19 AM