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27 October 2005
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Sixtieth General Assembly
CONTINUED SUPPORT OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY VITAL FOR INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
TO MEET GROWING DEMANDS, IMPROVE EFFICIENCY, DELEGATIONS TOLD
The General Assembly met this morning to consider the
annual report of the International Court of Justice
, the Organization’s principal judicial organ. The Hague-based Court, also known as the World Court, has a dual role: to settle in accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by States; and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.
The annual report (document
) covers the period from 1 August 2004 through 31 July 2005. It outlines the history, composition, jurisdiction and procedure of the 60-year-old Court, which consists of 15 judges elected for a term of nine years by both the Assembly and the Security Council. Shi Jiuyong ( China) is currently serving a three-year term as the Court’s President, while Raymond Ranjeva ( Madagascar) is serving as its Vice-President for three years.
LIU ZHENMIN (
) recalled that the Court had disposed of over 90 cases and handed down nearly 100 decisions in the last 60 years, on matters ranging from boundary delineation to the obligation not to use force, to asylum and nationality. The Court had also handed down 25 advisory opinion on matters related to the United Nations, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons and the legal consequences of the wall being constructed in the
Occupied Palestinian Territories
. Those judicial activities facilitated the development of international law.
The Court’s workload was increasing as it gained recognition and the confidence of the international community, he continued. Member States should address the growing strain on the Court’s personnel and financial resources to ensure that it could fully play its role. While peace and development were the themes of the times, international relations and development as a whole occasioned a susceptibility to instability and uncertainty. Friendly relations should be governed and safeguarded by the rule of law. The Court played an important role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.
MAGED ABDELFATTAH ABDELAZIZ (
) said the Court’s work reflected the great importance attached to the promotion of international law in international relations. Promoting peaceful coexistence among peoples and respect for the rule of law was a fundamental role played by the Court. It was important that the Court’s rulings remained based on the principles of international law, and free from any political influences. At a time when the United Nations was going through an important process of change, it was also important for the Court to reflect the principles of the United Nations in promoting international justice.
It was troubling that some States were hesitant to recognize the important role of the Court, he said. That role was to develop and enrich international law, and there was now an urgent need to use the experience of that principal legal organ to strengthen the Security Council’s resolutions. The Council and the Assembly needed to turn to the Court to request more advisory opinions. The advisory opinions should be taken seriously, particularly the recent advisory opinion issued by the Court on the building of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Court’s advisory opinion on the wall clearly showed that it was illegal to occupy anyone’s land by force. He encouraged Member States to request the Court’s opinion about the legal aspects of issues and to implement the Court’s rulings.
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For information media • not an official record