International Court of Justice
SELECT JUDGEMENTS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
- Case Concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary Between Cameroon and Nigeria
The ICJ decision in the land and maritime boundary case between Cameroon and Nigeria is significant in many respects but mostly because it settled a long standing land dispute between two African countries that originated from the artificial boundaries drawn by the colonial powers in the quest for the partition of Africa. The decision involved the interpretation of colonial treaties imposed on the peoples in the region between Germany, France and Britain and subsequently the Treaty of Versailles which ended the First World War resulting in the transfer of German territories to France and Britain under the League of Nations Trusteeship which was later replaced by the UN Trusteeship at the end of the Second World War. However, the Maritime boundaries post date the independence of both countries and were subject to legal instruments concluded by both countries. A summary of the ICJ judgment is posted here as well as the full judgment.
- ICJ Advisory Opinion Requested by the United Nations General Assembly on the Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo
In a stunning endorsement of the right to self-determination by a majority of judges of ICJ and dissenting opinions from the third world that championed this right for decades, the ICJ decided that Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate International Law. This opinion was arrived at despite Security Council resolutions on Kosovo endorsing the sovereignty of Serbia over Kosovo which until now refuses to accept the declaration of independence as a violation of its sovereignty. The ICJ uncharacteristically found that the Security Council did not address its resolutions to the people of Kosovo but to States and the United Nations which was granted administrative rights over Kosovo. No matter that by declaring itself independent unilaterally the majority in Kosovo disregarded the rights of the minority Serbs in the territory which the UN was duty bound to safeguard and defied the UN mandate which at times connived to its fulfillment. It remains to see how the opinion will affect other breakaway regions such as Putland and Somaliland to mention just a few less volatile for no other reason that the central authority Somalia is moribund.
- Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda)
In a landmark decision, the International Court of Justice entertained a complaint by Congo against Uganda arising from the intervention by the Great Lakes States to aid Kabila the elder and salvage the people of Congo from the tight grip of Mobutu Sesseko and the carnage that ensued by Congolese militias. Uganda became the scapegoat of what was at the time a free for all when land and air forces from Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Angola and Uganda scrambled for influence over the fledgeling/fledgling Kabila Sr. regime. Kabila Jr. decided to institute a case against Uganda, after the SADC coalition of Zimbabwe and Angola assisted his father him to regain control of the capital Kinshasa and neighboring areas. The alleged atrocities levelled/leveled against the Ugandan forces still continue unabated despite the departure of both Rwanda and Uganda soldiers from Eastern Congo. It is hoped that President Kabila of Congo and President Museveni of Uganda can reopen dialogue to try and to settle this dispute in the African tradition of reconciliation and brotherhood. Uganda’s intervention saved many lives, albeit admittedly, some bad soldiers in the Ugandan Army misbehaved and took advantage of the situation to enrich themselves. There was a war being fought by many sides in Eastern Congo no doubt. The and the Ugandan tax payer should not be penalised/penalized to pay billions of dollars for the misadventures of a few Ugandan soldiers, but also many other players in the Congo war zone that included many other nations and local Congolese militias, when the overall intention of Uganda was to liberate the Congo from tyranny and civil strife.