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The International Court of Justice


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All Justice, Too, Is Local (December 30, 2004)
In light of the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) decision that it lacks jurisdiction on the 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo, the author of this New York Times Op-Ed claims that the court has not been effective. Some cite 'politicization' as the main reason for the ICJ's unpopularity and Washington remains unconvinced that the International Criminal Court will be any different.

World Court Says Cannot Rule in NATO Bombing Case (December 15, 2004)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) says the Serbia and Montenegro case against NATO for bombing Kosovo in 1999 falls out of the UN court's jurisdiction because Serbia and Montenegro was not recognized as a UN member state until 2000. The ICJ also threw out similar cases during the air strikes in 1999. (Reuters)

Undermining the International Court (September 21, 2004)
Author Neve Gordon condemns Israeli leader Ariel Sharon for continuing to build the Israeli-Palestinian barriers after the International Court of Justice ruling on the wall's illegality, and also points fingers at world leaders who do not vocalize support for the ICJ "even though in a post 9/11 world it is precisely these kinds of institutions that need to be strengthened." (ZNet)

World Court's Ruling on Wall Speaks with Utmost Clarity (July 27, 2004)
This MERIP article argues in favor of the International Court of Justice's decision to uphold its jurisdiction in the matter of the Israeli separation barrier. The article further looks at the basis of the court's ruling, found in the historic legal context of the Occupied Territories.

UN Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Demand Israel Comply with ICJ Ruling (July 20, 2004)
In a resolution passed by an overwhelming majority, the UN General Assembly urged Israel to comply with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which declared the illegality of the separation barrier in the occupied territories in and around the West Bank. The Assembly also called on UN members states to conform to the ruling, which includes not providing "aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such construction." (UN News Service)

Israel up Against the Wall (July 14, 2004)
Analyzing the ruling of the International Court of Justice on the illegality of Israel's barrier, the author argues that only states that do not "accept the applicability of international law" consider the court's ruling non binding. He further warns that by disregarding the court's opinion, critics call into question the United Nations Charter and the whole foundation of international law. (Asia Times)

World Court Rules Israel's Barrier Illegal (July 9, 2004)
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Israel's West Bank barrier violates international law. Acknowledging Israel's right to protect its citizens, the Court said it must do so within the law and should compensate Palestinians for property lost or damaged by the building of the wall. The ICJ urges the UN Security Council and General Assembly to consider further action to end the illegal activity. (Reuters)

US Violated Mexicans' Rights (March 31, 2004)
The International Court of Justice ruled that the US violated the rights of 51 Mexicans on death row by withholding their right to assistance from their government. The Court's judgment is binding and final. However, the United States has already failed to obey a 2001 decision by the court in a similar case. (Associated Press)

Israel's Barrier and the World Court (23 February, 2004)
This BBC article provides a comprehensive overview of the Israeli "barrier" case at the International Court of Justice. It cites the main arguments of the US, Europe, Israel and Palestine and gives a grim outlook for the efficacy of the court's ruling.

Battle over Barrier Heats Up: Canada Joins Israel in Push to Stop World Court from Ruling on Legality of Security Fence (January 31, 2004)
In December 2003, the General Assembly voted 90-8 in favor of asking the International Court of Justice to rule on the legality of Israel's "security fence." As the hearing approaches, western countries previously favoring the court's involvement are voicing concern that the case is "politicizing" the court. (Ottawa Citizen)


ICJ Hears Death Penalty Suit against US (December 19, 2003)
The International Court of Justice hears a case in which the Mexican government alleges that the US breached the Vienna convention on consular cooperation. Mexico claims that 52 of its nationals on death row in the US were not informed of their rights. (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

Court to Rule on Israeli Barrier (December 20, 2003)
The International Court of Justice will take on the case of Israel's construction of its controversial "security barrier". The hearings will open on February 23, 2004. (BBC)

World Court Ruling Sought on Israel Fence (December 9, 2003)
The United Nations General Assembly requests an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on Israel's "security fence" in the West Bank. The court's ruling is not binding but carries moral weight and may add to diplomatic pressure on Israel. (Independent)

Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) (March 7, 2003)
The International Court of Justice completes public hearings of Iran's action against the US for destroying Iranian oil platforms towards the end of the 1980s Iraq-Iran war. This ICJ press release summarizes the concluding statements by the two parties. (International Court of Justice)

ICJ to Hold Public Hearings in Iran v US Oil Case (February 2003)
In 1992 Iran filed a complaint against the US in the International Court of Justice. The US destroyed three Iranian oil platforms at the end of Iran's 1980s war with Iraq, allegedly breaking its Amity Treaty with Iran. This article documents the brief history of events leading up to the ICJ's current public hearing of the case. (International Court of Justice)

International Court of Justice Stops Executions of Mexicans in the United States (February 5, 2003)
The International Court of Justice ordered the US not to execute three Mexicans on death row until it has finished hearing their case but the US has a history of ignoring the court's rulings. The Mexicans brought a case against the US for denying them consular access upon their arrest in contravention of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. (Pravda)

Mexico Challenges US on Death Penalty (January 10, 2003)
Mexico filed a complaint against the US in the International Court of Justice, alleging a violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. 54 Mexicans on death row were assigned public defenders who speak little or no Spanish and were denied access to their Mission, an international obligation under the Convention. (Washington Post)


The Canary is Drowning: Tiny Tuvalu Fights Back Against Climate Change (December 3, 2002)
If sea levels keep rising at their current rate, "leaving for higher ground may be the only choice" for the small island state of Tuvalu, "creating an entire nation of environmental refugees." Tuvalu plans to sue the US, Australia, and several major oil corporations for their contributions to global warming. (CorpWatch)

World Court Rules for Cameroon in Prolonged Oil-Land Border Dispute With Nigeria (October 11, 2002)
The ICJ decided that the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula belongs to Cameroon. Though both countries agreed to accept the ruling, they also strengthened their military presence on either side of the border. The importance of the ruling comes from the fact the region holds "enough oil to change the mix of supply from West Africa or to shake up global markets," reports the New York Times.

World Court Rejects Congo Request to Intervene Against Rwanda (July 10, 2002)
The ICJ has rejected the request presented by Congo that Rwanda withdraw its forces from Congolese territory, on the claim that the Court has "no legal basis to intervene." However, Rwanda's demand to "strike the dispute from its docket" has also been rejected. (Associated Press)

International Spotlight Falls on Actions of Rwandan Troops in DR Congo (June 12, 2002)
One World Africa has reported that the International Court of Justice "is scheduled to consider accusations by the government of Democratic Republic of the Congo that its neighbor Rwanda has committed "large-scale human slaughter" since the outbreak of conflict in the mineral-rich Central African country in 1998."

Indonesian Corrupters May Face International Tribunal (March 23, 2002)
Opus Supremus, a Dutch NGO, requested a judicial opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the possibility of trying a number of high-profile Indonesians on corruption charges in the World Court. (Jakarta Post)

Belgian War Crimes Law Rejected (February 14, 2002)
The International Court of Justice ruled out the 1993 Belgium Law, which allows Belgian courts to hear cases of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, in the case of a former foreign minister from the Democratic Republic of Congo over the killing of ethnic Tutsis. (BBC)



LaGrand Case (Germany v. United States of America) (June 27, 2001)
Summary of the holding of the International Court of Justice, including that orders indicating provisional measures to nations are legally binding. (ICJ)

World Court: U.S. Violated International Law (June 27, 2001)
The World Court ruled the US violated the rights of Germany and two of its citizens when it denied the condemned brothers access to their consulate before executing them in 1999 for murder. (Guardian)

Liechtenstein Takes Germany to World Court (May 31, 2001)
Liechtenstein is bringing Germany to the International Court of Justice for violation of national sovereignty. A German intelligence report alleged that the principality was an international money-laundering center. (Associated Press)

Congo Withdraws Rwanda, Burundi Cases (February 2, 2001)
The day before Laurent Kabila's assassination, the DRC dropped from the ICJ its cases against neighboring countries accused of armed aggression in violation of international treaties. (Associated Press)

ICJ the Last Avenue to End Iraqi Sanctions (January 23, 2001)
Malaysia is about to bring the Iraqi issue to the ICJ, which may be the only organ willing to end the sanctions, by judging them in violation of UN laws and principles on human rights. But can this organ create a precedent by reversing a decision of the Security Council?(New Straits Times)



World Court President Asks UN For More Funds (October 26, 2000)
Speaking at the General Assembly, ICJ President explained that the UN financial crisis is seriously hindering the work of the World Court. To avoid a "slow death", the UN should increase court annual budget from 10 million dollars to 13 million. (Agence France Presse)

Ruling puts arrests in question (October 21, 2000)
Three judges of the ICJ gave a ruling claiming that war criminal Stevan Todorovic's arrest had been illegal. This ruling might set an important precedent.(The Guardian)

Lebanon Prepares Legal Case Against Israel (July 28, 2000)
The quarrel between Lebanon and Israel is taken to the International Court of Justice. Lebanon prepares to demand compensation from Israel for the loss of former Lebanese territory. (Reuters)


World Court to Rule on UN Dispute with Malaysia (August 10, 1998)
A Reuters article on a libel dispute between the United Nations and Malaysia.

Budget, staff cuts put strain on Int'l Court of Justice, Court President tells General Assembly (October 28, 1997)
The International Court of Justice, too, is feeling the pinch of the UN Financial Crisis according to Judge Schwebel.

The International Court of Justice Between Politics and Law (November 1996)
An article from Le Monde diplomatique by Monique Chemillier-Gendreau on both the present limitations and future possibilities of the ICJ.

Second-Guessing the Security Council: the International Court of Justice and its Powers of Judicial Review (Spring 1995)
This well-organized Law Review article explains the ICJ's powers of judicial review, where they come from, how they have been applied, and predictions for their gradual evolution.

Litigation Status in Lockerbie Case
The Lockerbie case, in which the ICJ first hinted at its powers of review over the actions of the Security Council, is described in this article from the New York Law Journal.



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