The President and the 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 are to begin their terms of office or shortly thereafter. An absolute majority is required and there are no conditions with regard to nationality. The President and the 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 of 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 divided.
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 15,000 United States dollars 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 exercise his/her duties, or in the event of a vacancy in the presidency. For this purpose he/she receives a daily allowance. In the absence of the Vice-President, this role devolves upon the senior judge.
On 6 February 2015 the Court elected Judge Ronny Abraham (France) to be President and Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf (Somalia) to be Vice-President.
The following judges served as President or Vice-President before the present holders of those offices: