In a significant victory for India at the UN, international law expert Neeru Chadha has won a crucial election to a top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea, becoming the first Indian women and also only the second woman ever, to be appointed as a judge at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on a term of 9 years between 2017 and 2026. This legal association deals with maritime dispute settlements and other laws in association with the sea.

With her long experience in international adjudication and legal proceedings, she served as a representative of the government of India during its Maritime borderline case against Bangladesh. Prior to this, she had also remained India’s official spokesperson for the case with Italy in 2012, where two Italian marines were charged for having shot innocent Indian fishermen at the coast of Kerala. She had also been India’s envoy at The Hague Conference, sharing her valuable knowledge in fields relating to humanitarian law, international terrorism and criminal law etc. Her participation was significantly noted at the International Court of Justice for the case centering Negotiations with respect to termination of nuclear arms race with Marshall Islands.

India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin expressed gratitude for the broad support of countries that resulted in Chadha’s “emphatic success” at the elections to the ITLOS. “It reflects both an appreciation of India’s global standing in matters of international law and the recognition for Chadha’s expertise as a lawyer and negotiator on contemporary issues related to the Law of the Seas,” says Akbaruddin.

Dr. Chadha is a PhD and pursued her law education at the University of Delhi and later on, at the University of Michigan. As Indians, it is a matter of immense pride to watch her escalate to such a prestigious position with her diligence and intelligence! She is an inspiration to all.

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