Lebanon's ambassador to the United Nations was elected to join the International Court of Justice, only the second time a Lebanese has ever been chosen for the world body's main judicial organization.
Dr. Nawaf Salam was elected on Friday along with with four other justices to the 15 member panel. Ronny Abraham (France), Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) and Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (Brazil) were all re-elected, making Salam the only new justice selected by the global body.
A former faculty member of the American University of Beirut (AUB), who holds degrees from Harvard (Massachusetts), Sciences Po (Paris) and the Lebanese University, Dr. Salam has been Lebanon's ambassador to the UN since 2007.
Many Lebanese were quick to express their pride and congratulations
Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt tweeted his support
AUB's president also shared his congratulations
Even the U.S. ambassador to the UN tweeted out a congratulatory message
Dr. Salam joins two other justices from the Arab world already serving on the high court.
Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, who was just reelected, also serves as the court's vice president. Mohamed Bennouna from Morocco was also re-elected to the court in 2015.
"Judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not their nationality, but no two judges can be from the same country. Effort is also taken to ensure that the principal legal systems of the world are reflected in the composition of the court," according to the UN.
The "World Court," as it is commonly known, was established in 1945 and is housed in The Hague in the Netherlands. The court "settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by other authorized UN organs."