ICJ has "most productive year in its history" 30 Oct 2008
The President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Higgins, has reported to the UN General Assembly on the Court's prolific activity since August 2007.

President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Rosalyn Higgins (photo courtesy of the ICJ)In her address to the United Nations General Assembly on 30 October, the President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Judge Rosalyn Higgins, stated that “the Court has had the most productive year in its history”.

President Higgins described the period from August 2007 to July 2008 as a period of “intense judicial activity” in which the Court handed down four substantive judgements and one order on a request for the indication of provisional measures.

The President of the Court further noted that the cases it had decided in the past year had “involved States from every United Nations regional group”.

February 2009: Court’s composition will change

In February 2009, new judges—elected by the UN General Assembly and Security Council (voting simultaneously)—will take their place on the Bench. The Court is currently working hard on the preparation of its judgements in the Croatia v. Serbia, Mexico v. USA and the Romania v. Ukraine cases, the President noted.

In early March 2009, the ICJ will open hearings in the Dispute regarding Navigational and Related Rights (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) and later in the year it will hold hearings in the case concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay).

Kosovo Advisory Opinion

On 8 October, the UN General Assembly voted in favour of Serbia’s request for the Court to deliver an Advisory Opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence on 17 February 2008. The ICJ has already issued an Order relating to procedural steps in the case and President Higgins affirmed that the Court “will certainly be giving appropriate attention” to the request.

Judges ad hoc and the propagation of the 'Botswana/Namibia model'

Under Article 31 of the Court’s Statute, a party to a dispute before the Court is entitled to nominate a judge ad hoc to serve in the case if no judge of that nationality is sitting on the Bench. Judges ad hoc now make up two per cent of the Court’s total budget with 40 such judges taking their seat on the Bench over the past six years.

In light of the increasing costs associated with these ad hoc judges, President Higgins encouraged States before the Court to consider following what she dubbed the “Botswana/Namibia model”. In the Botswana/Namibia case (1999), neither Party had a national on the Bench. Yet both States informed the Court that they had jointly agreed not to appoint a judge ad hoc each, both having “full confidence in the Court as constituted in its regular membership”.

At the present time, all 192 United Nations Members are ipso facto parties to the Court’s Statute. Sixty-six of these States have accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.

Press release
President Higgins’ full speech

Page Tools
Share |