Joan E. Donoghue is an American jurist, currently serving as a Judge on the International Court of Justice, having been elected to that post in 2010.
Donoghue graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with honors degrees in Russian Studies and in Biology, in 1978, and the Boalt Hall School of Law, of the University of California, Berkeley, with her Juris Doctor, in 1981. In the 1980s, Donoghue acted as attorney-advisor for the US in Nicaragua v. United States.
She was the General Counsel of Freddie Mac, and, more recently, the Deputy Legal Adviser at the United States State Department.
Donoghue was elected to the ICJ on September 9, 2010 to fill the place left vacant by the resignation of Thomas Buergenthal. Pursuant to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, Donoghue will fill the remainder of the nine-year term for which Buergenthal had been elected; thus Donoghue's term now expires on February 5, 2015.
Donoghue's name had been the only nomination for this ICJ vacancy received by the Secretary-General within the specified time. (After the expiration of the deadline for submissions of nominations, the Secretariat received communications from the national group of Colombia also nominating a candidate.
In the General Assembly, Donoghue received 159 votes out of 167 valid ballots (there were 8 abstentions). In the Security Council, she received all 15 votes.
Donoghue was officially sworn in as a member of the ICJ on September 13, 2010.
Although the ICJ was established in 1945, Donoghue was only the third woman ever elected to be a member of the Court. Of the Court's 15 members, three are now female (the others are Xue Hanqin, sworn in on the same day as Donoghue, and Julia Sebutinde, who joined the Court in 2012).