United Nations – The African Group have commended UN member states for referring disputes with weighty political issues to the International Criminal Court (ICC) , also called the World Court.
The commendation is contained in a document from the General Assembly made available to UN correspondents on Friday in New York, as delegates received briefing on the Court’s work.
Speaking on behalf of the Group, Amb. Jeremiah Mamabolo of South Africa said the number of cases pending before the court reflected the esteem given to that body.
Mamabolo said the World Court was clearly drawn on general principles, including the principle of prevention, enunciated in its decision regarding “the Corfu Channel” and in the advisory opinion on “the Use or Threat of Use of Nuclear Weapons.’’
In the July 8, 1996 advisory opinion, he said, the World Court concluded that there existed an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all aspects under strict and effective international control.
He said the Group looked forward to the World Court’s judgment on a case in which the Marshall Islands invoked breaches of article six of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) by the United Kingdom.
The representative said the Group also looked forward to judgment on the questions of the World Court’s jurisdiction and admissibility of its application in a case involving Pakistan.
The importance of advisory opinions on legal questions referred to the World Court, he said, could not be overstated.
He said it was therefore rather disappointing that during the reporting period, no requests for advisory opinions was made.
In his contribution, Amb. Usman Sarki of Nigeria commended the World Court for measures it had taken in recent years to enhance efficiency, enabling it to effectively manage its increasing workload.
Sarki said that the number, diversity and geographical scope of cases adjudicated by it attested to its increasing relevance both as an organ and instrument in the peaceful settlement of disputes.
Nigeria, he said, welcomed the idea that the World Court should publicise its decisions through modern information and communication technology.
He said those efforts served to promote greater transparency in its activities.
He, however, added that it was concerning that only 72 states had so far made declarations recognising its jurisdiction.
Sarki said UN member states who had not yet done so were encouraged to subscribe to its jurisdiction as that would strengthen the World Court’s ability to promote international justice and peaceful settlement of disputes.
In his statement, Amb. Idrees Saeed of Sudan also appreciated the work of the World Court in peaceful settlement of disputes.
Saeed said the Court played crucial role and had heavy workload which required further political and financial support.
The increased workload of the World Court, he said, reflected the trust afforded to it by the international community.
The representative said the Court’s settlement of disputes was carried out with integrity and independence.
He called on those countries which had not done so to recognise the compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court.
Saeed noted that the Security Council had not sought advisory opinions from the World Court in many years and should do so.
Similarly, he said, the General Assembly and other specialised agencies of the UN should seek advisory opinions pertaining to their programmes. (NAN)