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Meet Lebanon's Nawaf Salam, new ICJ president

Salam, Lebanon’s former ambassador to the UN, becomes head of the UN’s top legal body at a critical time amid the Gaza war.
Nawaf Salam, Lebanon's Ambassador to the United Nations, speaks to the media after Security Council consultations on the Palestinian request for full United Nations membership during the General Assembly September 26, 2011 at UN headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP via Getty Images)

Lebanon’s former ambassador to the United Nations and diplomat Nawaf Salam was elected on Tuesday as president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and will lead the court through proceedings related to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Salam was elected by his peers on the United Nations’ top court. He will serve a three-year term, the court said in a statement. In a post on Twitter/X, Salam 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 as a protector of laws, 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 wrote. 

The president of the ICJ is elected by other members of the court by a secret ballot to three-year terms and can be subsequently reelected. A majority is required to be elected. The president presides over the court’s meetings and directs its work, according to the ICJ website.

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