British judge Rosalyn Higgins was elected president of the International Court of Justice and will become the first woman to hold the position, the court said in a statement from Amsterdam, Netherlands today.
Higgins, 68, has sat on the 15-member court since 1995, and will serve a term of three years.
Higgins, who is also the only woman ever to sit on the court, was elected by her peers and will assume the presidency from Chinese judge Shi Jiuyong as of February 6.
Shi returns to the bench.
“I am deeply honoured to have been entrusted with this task,” Higgins said in a prepared statement.
“The President is the trustee of one of the world’s greatest institutions.”
Before joining the court, Higgins had a long career as a scholar, author and international lawyer, several times representing commonwealth countries before the world court.
She argued for Britain in a dispute with Libya over the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 above Lockerbie, Scotland.
The court also elected Jordanian judge Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh as vice president.