Professor Dire Tladi has been sworn in as the first-ever South African judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The ICJ held a public sitting on Tuesday morning, where Tladi and three other Excellencies were officially sworn in after being elected by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and Security Council on 9 November 2023.
The other new members of the court include Bogdan-Lucian Aurescu from Romania, Sarah Hull Cleveland from the United States and Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo Verduzco from Mexico.
During the sitting, the four judges each solemnly declared Article 20 of the Statute of the Court. The declaration, according to the ICJ, stipulates that members shall, before taking up their duties, make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.
The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN and one of the six principal bodies of the intergovernmental organisation.
The court’s role is to settle, per international law, legal disputes submitted to it by states and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised UN organs and specialised agencies.
Professor Tladi is a leading international law scholar whose accomplishments span different areas of the field, including academic, government service, diplomatic and practice.
On his appointment as a judge of the ICJ, he was the University of Pretoria professor of international law and Future Africa’s Research Chair in Global Equity in Africa.
Speaking to the university last year, he said he was experiencing a mix of different emotions.
“I am filled with mixed emotions – excitement, elation and a touch of nervousness. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude because so many people played a role in this journey.
“The entire experience has been humbling, especially navigating through the challenges of an intense campaign, and juggling various responsibilities over the past few months.
“The announcement and the tense process have undoubtedly taken a toll, but I’m absolutely ecstatic and profoundly humbled by the experience,” said the Professor.