The President and Vice-President are elected by the Members of the Court every three years by secret ballot. The election is held on the date on which Members of the Court elected at a triennial election begin their terms of office or shortly thereafter. An absolute majority is required and there are no conditions of nationality. The President and Vice-President may be re-elected.
The President presides at all meetings of the Court; he/she directs its work and supervises its administration, with the assistance of a Budgetary and Administrative Committee and various other committees, all composed of Members of the Court. During judicial deliberations, the President has a casting vote in the event of votes being equally tied.
In The Hague, where he/she is obliged to reside, the President of the Court takes precedence over the doyen of the diplomatic corps.
The President receives a special supplementary allowance of US$15,000 per annum, in addition to his/her annual salary.
The Vice-President replaces the President in his/her absence, in the event of his/her inability to perform his/her duties, or in the event of a vacancy in the presidency. He/she receives a daily allowance for doing so. In the absence of the Vice-President, this role falls to the senior judge.
On 8 February 2021, the Court elected Judge Joan E. Donoghue (United States of America) as President and Judge Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation) as Vice-President.
The following judges have previously served as President or Vice-President: