His Excellency Judge Peter Tomka, President of the International Court of Justice (“the ICJ”), declared yesterday to the United Nations General Assembly that the Court “always strives to ensure that the disputes submitted to it are settled promptly”, emphasizing that “hearings have been held and deliberations are underway in every case on the Court’s General List in which the written procedure has closed”.
In his address, the President gave a brief overview of the Court’s judicial activities. He recalled that, during the reporting period, the total number of contentious cases pending before the Court had been 13 (and now stood at 14); in four of these the Court had held hearings. Three of these hearings had dealt with requests for provisional measures: in October 2013 in the case concerning Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua); in November 2013 in the case concerning Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica); and in January 2014 on Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-Leste v. Australia).
In addition, in March 2014 the Court had held hearings on the merits in the case concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia). The President explained that the Court was now deliberating the case, and was in process of drafting its Judgment, which it planned to deliver ahead of the triennial renewal of its composition next February.
President Tomka went on to inform the Assembly that the Court had handed down three Judgments during the reporting period, the first in the case concerning the Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand) (Cambodia v. Thailand), the second in the Maritime Dispute (Peru v.Chile) and the third in the case concerning Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan); it had also issued three Orders on requests for the indication of provisional measures.
The President then summarized the cases submitted to the Court since August 2013, including the proceedings instituted on 28 August last — and thus after the end of the Court’s reporting period — by the Federal Republic of Somalia against the Republic of Kenya with regard to a dispute concerning the delimitation of the two countries’ respective maritime areas in the Indian Ocean. The President observed that this case had brought to 14 the total number of cases currently entered on the Court’s General List.