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Statement by the Federal Republic of Germany on International Court of Justice, 28 October

Speech

Nous célébrons cette année le 75e anniversaire de la Cour internationale de Justice. La CIJ est l’organe judiciaire principal de l’ONU. C’est la seule cour qui a sa base juridique dans la Charte des Nations Unies elle-même et est ouverte à tous les membres des Nations Unies.

Parvenir à une paix mondiale durable grâce au règlement pacifique des différends internationaux devant une cour mondiale, telle était l’idée à l’origine de l’établissement de la CIJ. Aujourd’hui, la coopération et la justice internationales sont plus importantes que jamais dans un monde de plus en plus complexe et vulnérable.

The steadily rising numbers of cases in front of the Court with over 140 disputes illustrate that the ICJ has become indeed the most prominent instrument for settling disputes on the foundation of the law. This gives the ICJ enormous prestige and weight, but also a crucial role in the peaceful settlement of conflicts. Both its decisions in contentious proceedings as well as its advisory opinions provide the highest authority in the determination and application of international law. The ICJ constitutes, along with the International Criminal Court, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the Permanent Court of Arbitration and other international and hybrid courts, a major pillar of the international rules based order with international law at its core.

States’ consent remains the indispensable foundation upon which the contentious jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice is based. In 2008, Germany has recognized the Court’s jurisdiction as compulsory in the form of a declaration under Article 36 (2) and encourages other states to do so as well.

Moreover, whenever states have submitted to the Court’s jurisdiction, they must respect and follow its decisions. This is true not only for the ICJ, but likewise for other international courts and tribunals – and it refers both to decisions on the merits of a case, as well as to decisions on its jurisdiction. The court can only be an effective means for the peaceful settlement of disputes and the furtherance of international law as the defining framework of international relations if its judgments are respected and implemented. Compliance by the parties to a case with the judgment of the Court, as required by Article 94 of the UN Charter, is therefore of paramount importance. Refusal or failure to comply with a judgment not only frustrates the Court’s efforts to bring to a conclusion the dispute in question. It also undermines respect for the Court, and therefore its overall efficiency as an instrument for settling disputes, far beyond any single case. It also erodes the respect for the global rule of law, symbolized by the ICJ. The importance of implementation is also underlined by the fact that the ICJ has undertaken steps concerning the establishment of an ad hoc committee to monitor the implementation of provisional measures of the Court.

La CIJ a la réputation de respecter les traditions mais, depuis le début de l’actuelle pandémie de Covid-19, elle a aussi prouvé une fois de plus sa capacité à faire face aux défis urgents en amendant son règlement afin de pouvoir tenir des audiences en format hybride. Cela lui a permis de poursuivre ses activités en faveur d’un règlement pacifique des conflits en conformité avec les règles du droit international même pendant la période difficile et incertaine de la pandémie mondiale.

Les décisions et les avis de la Cour ont un impact direct qui dépasse de loin le cas spécifique et le droit matériel existant et elles influencent largement le débat politique dans divers domaines des relations internationales.

L’Allemagne demeure un fidèle partisan de la Cour internationale de Justice et elle appelle tous les autres pays à continuer eux aussi à soutenir la Cour et son travail.

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