34th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 2

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15-Oct-1996 01:22:04
Structural and circumstantial limitations challenge effectiveness of world Court, President of Court tells General Assembly at the 34th plenary.

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Assembly Also Continues Review of Goal Implementation of Summit for Children.

The ability of the International Court of Justice to take actions in service of peace suffered from certain limitations beyond its control, some of them structural, others circumstantial, said its President, Judge Mohammed Bedjaoui this morning as he introduced the Court's annual report to the General Assembly.

Describing the structural limitations, Judge Bedjaoui said international law remained both heterogeneous and fragmentary, which was a further challenge for an international court, whose work in the service of peace was entirely dependent on the application of that law. Since the subjects of international law were both creators and targets of the rules of that law, it often fell to them to interpret and apply those rules. When the Court made a decision in such cases, it was all the actors on the international stage, not merely the parties to a dispute, who were affected by that decision.

The Court President also pointed out that the Court was confronting circumstantial constraints due to grave material difficulties. Those constraints seriously imperiled the very discharge of the Court's duties at a time of greatly increased activity.

The representative of Malaysia, along with many speakers, echoed the President's concern about inadequate financial support for the Court. That situation was of particular concern at a time when States and international organizations were increasing their use of the world Court. He called upon the United Nations to ensure that the Court was given sufficient funds to continue to function as the premier judicial body of today.

Many speakers also called for efforts to strengthen the International Court of Justice, proposing, among other things, that the Secretary-General be authorized to request advisory opinions from the Court. Representatives also called for an expanded usage of the Court by the General Assembly, the Security Council and other United Nations bodies.

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