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        General Assembly
26 October 2006

Official Records

General Assembly
Sixty-first session
41st plenary meeting
Thursday, 26 October 2006, 10 a.m.

New York

President:Ms. Al-Khalifa .................................................................................(Bahrain)

The meeting was called to order at 3.20 p.m.


Agenda item 70

Report of the International Court of Justice


Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic): ...


The Court has, indeed, succeeded in resolving almost 100 cases relating to land and maritime borders, as well as in strengthening legal obligations regarding the non-use of force and non-interference in the internal affairs of States and in enhancing relations among States. Furthermore, it has issued several Advisory Opinions reaffirming established legal principles and rules, among which the Advisory Opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons and the Advisory Opinion on the legal consequences of the construction of the separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territory are the most noteworthy.


The true value of the decisions and Advisory Opinions of the International Court of Justice lies not only in the facts and principles that they establish, but also in their contribution to the enrichment, development and codification of international law. Those decisions enshrine legal and moral values that should be respected by all members of the international community, thereby further enhancing international peace and security.

This is especially the case with regard to the Advisory Opinion recently issued by the Court in response to a request from the General Assembly on the legal consequences of the construction of the separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. This Advisory Opinion is a clear reaffirmation of a well-established legal principle on which we are all agreed — namely, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by force. Thus, the Advisory Opinion is both legally and morally binding.

It is essential, therefore, that we develop a clear follow up mechanism for the implementation of decisions and Advisory Opinions issued by the Court so as to ensure that their scope is not limited to the Court itself and the parties involved in the dispute. Rather, there should be international recognition by United Nations bodies of their commitment to following up and implementing in practical terms the Court’s decision.


Mr. Abdelsalam (Sudan) (spoke in Arabic): ...


As the Court carries out its tasks, it is only logical to accept its rulings, because justice cannot be fragmented or negotiated. Here, we recall the Advisory Opinions issued by the Court, including its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The failure to comply with that Opinion defies the will of the international community and mocks international justice.


Mr. Hachani (Tunisia) (spoke in French): ...


The Opinions of the Court are unanimously considered the best formulation of the content of international law in force. We reaffirm the importance of the Court’s Advisory Opinions, which are issued at the request of the Security Council or the General Assembly. We believe that the Council would benefit from making greater use of the experience of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations to strengthen the legal value of its resolutions seeking to establish international peace and security. By using the Advisory Opinions of the Court, the General Assembly, too, could strengthen its capacity to carry out its tasks as perfectly as possible.

Despite their advisory nature, the Opinions of the Court should be taken seriously. This applies to the Advisory Opinion rendered by the Court at the request of the General Assembly on the legal consequences of building a separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories. This Advisory Opinion constitutes a clear and unambiguous interpretation of an important legal principal that we should all be familiar with, namely, that occupying the territory of others by force is forbidden.


Mr. Ja’afari (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic): My delegation would first like to express its appreciation to Judge Rosalyn Higgins, President of the International Court of Justice, for her comprehensive statement about the International Court of Justice’s work over the past year.


The report presented by Judge Higgins mentioned many cases that the Court has recently considered. It also stated the results achieved and the respect which its rulings received. In that context, we express our appreciation for the Opinions of the Court and reaffirm that respect for them is the real and true test of a State’s effective belief in the rule of law. That is because justice cannot only be a point of view; rather, its true value lies in its implementation and in the State’s compliance with the ruling — whether that State is large or small, powerful or weak, rich or poor.

In that regard, we recall the Advisory Opinion issued by the Court on Israel’s construction of the separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories. The Court found that Israel’s construction of the wall was in violation of international law and that Israel is therefore obligated to put an end to its violation of international law and to compensate for any damages caused by the wall’s construction. The Court also found that all States are bound to recognize the illegal status arising from the construction of the wall, and that countries must guarantee that Israel abide by international humanitarian law as stated in the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Despite the fact that the legal Opinion of the Court stresses the need for the United Nations, including the Security Council and the General Assembly, to adopt measures to put an end to the illegal status arising from the construction of the wall, the Security Council regrettably has not played its role, due to the selectivity practised by some of its member States and their protection of Israel’s violations of international law, as long as those violations serve their policies and interests.


The President: May I take it that it is the wish of the General Assembly to conclude its consideration of agenda item 70?

It was so decided.

The meeting rose at 6.20 p.m.

This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

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