20th Plenary Meeting - General Assembly 75th Session

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03-Nov-2020 03:21:08
Growing docket of International Court of Justice signals rising confidence in its legitimacy, say delegates, as General Assembly concludes debate.

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Several Speakers Support Creation of Trust Fund To Help Young Developing-World Law Graduates Access Judicial Fellows Programme

The General Assembly concluded its debate on the report of the International Court of Justice today, with speakers describing the growing docket of the principal United Nations judicial organ as a sign of rising confidence among Member States in the authority and legitimacy of its judgements and advisory opinions.

Brazil’s representative said the Court facilitates preventative diplomacy by “fostering dialogue through the common language of international law”. Noting the geographical spread and varied subject matter of its pending cases, he said that such a high level of activity testifies to the Court’s renewed vitality and its universal role in promoting justice.

Malaysia’s representative, in similar vein, noted that the Court’s advisory opinions, while not binding, carry great legal weight and moral authority. He specifically cited its landmark 8 July 1996 observation that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons run generally contrary to the rules of international law applicable to armed conflict.

Germany’s delegate, pointing out that the Court’s functioning depends on consensus among its States parties, emphasized the need to recognize its rulings as compulsory and to comply with its decisions. Even if decisions go against national interests, respect for international opinions are in the national interests of all, he stressed.

Iran’s representative said his country has twice brought cases against the United States to the Court relating to sanctions and the freezing of Iranian assets. Regrettably, that country is defying the Court’s authority by failing to comply with provisional measures requiring it to lift impediments to the shipment of food, medicines and other essential items, he added.

Bangladesh’s representative, meanwhile, urged Myanmar to fully implement provisional measures laid down by the Court after the Gambia initiated legal proceedings under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide regarding Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

Rwanda’s representative, affirming that “peace through law is possible”, welcomed the ever‑increasing confidence – especially among developing States – in the Court’s ability to settle disputes impartially. He also reiterated calls for the Security Council to make greater use of the Court as a source of advisory opinions and interpretation of relevant norms of international law.

Several delegates supported a proposal - to be put before the General Assembly’s current session – to establish a trust fund that would make it possible for more young law graduates from developing countries to participate in the Court’s Judicial Fellows Programme.

The Assembly began its consideration of the Court’s annual report (document A/75/4) on 2 November, following the adoption of its annual resolution on the International Criminal Court. (See Press Release GA/12240.)

Also speaking today were representatives of the Netherlands, Guatemala, Singapore, Philippines, India, Spain, Croatia, Georgia, Romania, Argentina, Honduras, Qatar, Chile, Brazil, Japan, Sudan, Cyprus, China, Senegal, Ecuador, Viet Nam, Ukraine, France, Mexico, Peru, Egypt, Nicaragua and the United Arab Emirates.

The Observer for the State of Palestine also spoke.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were representatives of the Russian Federation, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The General Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 5 November, to take up, among other items, the report of the Human Rights Council and draft resolutions on strengthening the United Nations system and on the seventy‑fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

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