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The 2008 Judicial Activity of the International Court of Justice

  • D. Stephen Mathias

Extract

The International Court of Justice issued three judgments in 2008: a final decision on the merits, of May 23, in Sovereignty overPedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore);1 a final decision on the merits, of June 4, in Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Djibouti v. France);2 and a ruling, of November 18, on the respondent's preliminary objections to jurisdiction and admissibility in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia).3 In addition, the Court, on July 16, indicated provisional measures directed at the United States in Request for an Interpretation of the Judgment of31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) (Mexico v. United States);4 and on October 15, acting on a request by Georgia for the indication of provisional measures in Application of the Racial Discrimination Convention (Georgia v. Russian Federation), 5 indicated provisional measures directed at both parties in the case. The Court also issued, on October 17, its order organizing the written proceedings in Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self Government of Kosovo (request for advisory opinion).6

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1 Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge (Malay./Sing.) (Int’l Ct. Justice May 23, 2008). All of the Court’s materials cited in this report are available on its Web site, http://www.icj-cij.org.

2 Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Djib. v. Fr.) (Int’l Ct. Justice June 4, 2008).

3 Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croat, v. Serb.), Preliminary Objections (Int’l Ct. Justice Nov. 18, 2008).

4 Request for an Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) (Mex. v. U.S.), Provisional Measures (Int’l Ct. Justice July 16, 2008).

5 Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Geor. v. Russ.), Provisional Measures (Int’l Ct. Justice Oct. 15, 2008).

6 Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo, Order (Int’l Ct. Justice Oct. 17, 2008).

7 Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge (Malay./Sing.), para. 300 (Int’l Ct. Justice May 23, 2008).

8 Coalter G. Lathrop, Case Report: Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore), 102 AJIL 828 (2008).

9 It should be noted, however, that even cases that are not formally brought before the Court on the basis of a special agreement may involve an agreement to bring a matter before the Court, as happened, for example, in Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Rom. v. Ukr.).

10 See infra notes 14-16 and accompanying text.

11 Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge, Diss. Op. Dugard, J. ad hoc, para. 2.

12 Id.

13 Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks, and South Ledge, Sep. Op. Parra-Aran- guren, J., para 1.

14 Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Djib. v. Fr.), paras. 60-64 (Int’l Ct. Justice June 4, 2008).

15 France again consented to jurisdiction under Article 38, paragraph 5, in Certain Criminal Proceedings in France (Congo v. Fr.), which remains pending.

16 Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, paras. 87-88.

17 In its judgments in Military and Paramilitary Activities in and Against Nicaragua (Nicar. v. U.S.), 1986 ICJ Rep. 14, para. 273 (June 27), and Oil Platforms (Iran v. U.S.), Preliminary Objections, 1996 ICJ Rep. 803, paras. 27-31 (Dec. 12), the Court had been called upon to assess the impact of a general statement of friendship on other provisions of the same treaties, not the provisions of a separate and later treaty, as in this case.

18 See Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Art. 31, para. 3(c), openedfor signature May 23, 1969, 1155 UNTS 331.

19 Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, para. 114.

20 Id., para. 119.

21 Id., para. 123.

22 Id., paras. 145-52.

23 Id., para. 157.

24 Id., para. 166.

25 Id.

26 Id.

27 Id., paras. 172-73.

28 Id., para. 185.

29 Id., para. 187.

30 Id.

31 Id., para. 196.

32 Id.

33 Rosalyn Higgins, ICJ President, Speech to the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization 5 (Oct. 24, 2008).

34 Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croat, v. Serb.), Preliminary Objections (Int’l Ct. Justice Nov. 18, 2008).

35 Mavrommatis Palestine Concessions (Judgment No. 2), 1924 PCIJ (Ser. A) No. 2, at 34 (Aug. 30).

36 Yehuda, Z. Blum Consistently Inconsistent: The InternationalCourtof Justice andthe FormerYugoslavia (Croatia v. Serbia), 103 AJIL 264 (2009).

37 Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, para. 79.

38 Id., Diss. Op. Kreća, J. ad hoc, paras. 176-77.

39 Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, para. 94.

40 Id., paras. 108-11.

41 Id., para. 109.

42 Id., paras. 115-16.

43 Id., paras. 129-30.

44 Id., para. 125.

45 Request for an Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) (Mex. v. U.S.), Provisional Measures, para. 1 (Int’l Ct. Justice July 16, 2008).

46 Id., para. 13.

47 Id., paras. 14,23.

48 John, R. Crook Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law , 102 AJIL 860 (2008).

49 Request for an Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), para. 32.

50 Id., para. 80.

51 Id., para. 55.

52 John, R. Crook Contemporary Practice of the United States Relating to International Law , 99 AJIL 489, 490 (2005).

53 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Para. v. U.S.), Provisional Measures, 1998 ICJ Rep. 248 (Apr. 9).

54 LaGrand (FRG v. U.S.), 2001 ICJ Rep. 466 (June 27) (reported by William Aceves at 96 AJIL 210 (2002)).

55 Request for an Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), Diss. Op. Buergenthal, J., para. 25.

56 Request for an Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America), para. 53.

57 Id.

58 Id.,para. 54.

59 Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Geor v. Russ.), Provisional Measures, paras. 1, 20 (Int’l Ct. Justice Oct. 15, 2008).

60 Cindy Galway Buys, Case Report: Application of the International Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Georgia v. Russian Federation), 103 AJIL 294 (2009).

61 Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, para. 143.

62 Id., para. 146.

63 Id., para. 149(3).

64 Id., para. 114.

65 Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Dem. Rep. Congo v. Rwanda), Jurisdiction and Admissibility, para. 1 (Int’l Ct. Justice Feb. 3, 2006).

66 Buys, supra note 60, at 297.

67 See, e.g., Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Dem. Rep. Congo v. Uganda), 2005 ICJ Rep. 168, para. 216 (Dec. 19) (“The Court. . . recalls that it had occasion to address the issues of the relationship between international humanitarian law and international human rights law . . . in its Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. In this Advisory Opinion the Court found that ‘the protection offered by human rights conventions does not cease in case of armed conflict, save through the effect of provisions for derogation of the kind to be found in Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. As regards the relationship between international humanitarian law and human rights law, there are three possible situations: some rights may be exclusively matters of international humanitarian law; others may be exclusively matters of human rights law; yet others may be matters of both of these branches of law.’”).

68 GA Res. A/RES/63/3 (Oct. 8, 2008).

69 Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo, Order (Int’l Ct. Justice Oct. 17, 2008).

70 Id.

71 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 2004 ICJ Rep 136 (July 9).

72 Id., para. 4.

73 ICJ Press Release 2008/39 (Nov. 7, 2008).

74 Rosalyn Higgins, ICJ President, Speech to the UN General Assembly 1-2 (Ocr. 30, 2008).

75 Id. ar 2, 6.

76 Id. at 5.

77 Id. at 5-6.

78 Rosalyn Higgins, ICJ President, Speech to the Sixth (Legal) Committee 1 (Oct. 31, 2008).

79 Id.

80 Id. at 6-7.

* Of the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State or the U.S. government. The author participated as counsel for the United States in the provisional measures stage of Request for an Interpretation ofthe Judgment of31 March 2004 in the Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America).

The 2008 Judicial Activity of the International Court of Justice

  • D. Stephen Mathias

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