Contentious Cases

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Contentious Cases

Legal proceedings in contentious cases are divided into a preparation and main hearing. In the United Kingdom, a “contentious appeal” is not specifically defined by statute. Contentious cases are those where there are points of principle or disputed facts under discussion. Non-contentious cases, like agreements and declarations, may be (usually) witnessed by one judge.

International Human Rights contentious cases are spread fairly evenly over the years, with two to three cases per year on average.

Contentious cases of the International Court of Justice

Contentious cases are defined by reference to Art. 40(1) of the ICJ Statute, which provides: “[c]ases are brought before the Court, as the case may be, either by the notifi cation of the special agreement or by a written application addressed to the Registrar. In either case the subject of the dispute and the parties shall be indicated.”

According to a paper of Aloysius P. Llamzon in the European Journal of International Law (Vol. 18 no.5, 2008) titled “Jurisdiction and Compliance in Recent Decisions of the International Court of Justice”, the International Court of Justice has been “getting exponentially busier in the last few years – its docket of contentious cases continues to expand, (1) and resort to the Court largely through compulsory jurisdiction continues.

In the docket of the Court as of Oct. 2006, there are currently 13 cases and, of these, nine were instituted through compulsory jurisdiction. These are: Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro) ; Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Republic of Guinea v . Democratic Republic of the Congo) ; Armed activities on the territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda) ; Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia and Montenegro) ; Maritime Delimitation between Nicaragua and Honduras
in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras) ; Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia) ; Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine) ; Dispute regarding Navigational and Related Rights (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua) ; and Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay) . See icj-cij.org/icjwww/idocket.htm.

While some scholars have considered its escalating docket a sign of both progress and growing respect for the Court, (2) others have expressed concern at the reliance on compulsory jurisdiction to fuel this increase. In 2000, Judge Shigeru Oda, still a member of the Court at that time, (3) famously questioned the effi cacy of compulsory jurisdiction. Judge Oda was intensely sceptical of compulsory jurisdiction.”

And he continues:

“Court’s docket from 1946 – 1999, 90 were considered distinct “contentious cases” , of which only 47 were fit for examination. Of the 90 contentious cases, only 71 were proper for examination. In eight cases forum prorogatum arose, while 11 other cases were eventually withdrawn: ibid., at 257. Twenty-four cases were pending at that time, and were thus also excluded.”

The following are a list of International Court of Justice cases ordered by countries involved. See about Advisory proceedings.

Albania

  • Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania)

Argentina

  • Antarctica (United Kingdom v. Argentina)
  • Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay)

Australia

  • Nuclear Tests (Australia v. France)
  • Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia)
  • East Timor (Portugal v. Australia)
  • Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)
  • Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-­Leste v. Australia)

Bahrain

  • Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (Qatar v. Bahrain)

Belgium

  • Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land (Belgium/Netherlands)
  • Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain)
  • Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain) (New Application: 1962)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Belgium)
  • Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium)
  • Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal)
  • Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (Belgium v. Switzerland)

Benin

  • Frontier Dispute (Benin/Niger)

Bolivia

  • Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro)
  • Application for Revision of the Judgment of 11 July 1996 in the Case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia), Preliminary Objections (Yugoslavia v. Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Botswana

  • Kasikili/Sedudu Island (Botswana/Namibia)

Brazil

  • Certain Questions concerning Diplomatic Relations (Honduras v. Brazil)

Bulgaria

  • Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (Israel v. Bulgaria)
  • Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (United States of America v. Bulgaria)
  • Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (United Kingdom v. Bulgaria)

Burkina Faso

  • Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Republic of Mali)
  • Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Niger)

Burundi

  • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Burundi)

Cambodia

  • Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v. Thailand)
  • 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)

Cameroon

  • Northern Cameroons (Cameroon v. United Kingdom)
  • Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria: Equatorial Guinea intervening)
  • Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 11 June 1998 in the Case concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria), Preliminary Objections (Nigeria v. Cameroon)

Canada

  • Delimitation of the Maritime Boundary in the Gulf of Maine Area (Canada/United States of America)
  • Fisheries Jurisdiction (Spain v. Canada)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Canada)

Chad

  • Territorial Dispute (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Chad)

Chile

  • Antarctica (United Kingdom v. Chile)
  • Maritime Dispute (Peru v. Chile)
  • Obligation to Negotiate Access to the Pacific Ocean (Bolivia v. Chile)

Colombia

  • Asylum (Colombia/Peru)
  • Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 20 November 1950 in the Asylum Case (Colombia v. Peru)
  • Haya de la Torre (Colombia v.Peru)
  • Territorial and Maritime Dispute (Nicaragua v. Colombia)
  • Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Colombia)
  • Question of the Delimitation of the Continental Shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 nautical miles from the Nicaraguan Coast (Nicaragua v. Colombia)
  • Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia)

Congo, Republic of the

  • Certain Criminal Proceedings in France (Republic of the Congo v. France)

Costa Rica

  • Border and Transborder Armed Actions (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
  • Dispute regarding Navigational and Related Rights (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
  • Certain Activities carried out by Nicaragua in the Border Area (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)
  • Construction of a Road in Costa Rica along the San Juan River (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica)
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean (Costa Rica v. Nicaragua)

Croatia

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Croatia v. Serbia)

Czechoslovakia

  • Aerial Incident of 10 March 1953 (United States of America v. Czechoslovakia)

Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • Ahmadou Sadio Diallo (Republic of Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Burundi)
  • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda)
  • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda)
  • Arrest Warrant of 11 April 2000 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Belgium)
  • Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (New Application: 2002) (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Rwanda)

Denmark

  • North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany/Denmark)
  • Maritime Delimitation in the Area between Greenland and Jan Mayen (Denmark v. Norway)
  • Passage through the Great Belt (Finland v. Denmark)

Djibouti

  • Certain Questions of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Djibouti v. France)
  • Dominica, Commonwealth of
  • Status vis-à-vis the Host State of a Diplomatic Envoy to the United Nations (Commonwealth of Dominica v. Switzerland)

Egypt

  • Protection of French Nationals and Protected Persons in Egypt (France v. Egypt)

El Salvador

  • Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras: Nicaragua intervening)
  • Application for Revision of the Judgment of 11 September 1992 in the Case concerning the Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras: Nicaragua intervening) (El Salvador v. Honduras)

Ethiopia

  • South West Africa (Ethiopia v. South Africa)

France

  • Rights of Nationals of the United States of America in Morocco (France v. United States of America)
  • Minquiers and Ecrehos (France/United Kingdom)
  • Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 (Italy v. France, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America)
  • Electricité de Beyrouth Company (France v. Lebanon)
  • Certain Norwegian Loans (France v. Norway)
  • Compagnie du Port, des Quais et des Entrepôts de Beyrouth and Société Radio-Orient (France v. Lebanon)
  • Nuclear Tests (Australia v. France)
  • Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France)
  • Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court’s Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. France)

Georgia

  • Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Georgia v. Russian Federation)

Germany

  • Fisheries Jurisdiction (Federal Republic of Germany v. Iceland)
  • LaGrand (Germany v. United States of America)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Monténégro v. Germany)
  • Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening)
  • North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany/Netherlands)
  • Certain Property (Liechtenstein v. Germany)

Greece

  • Ambatielos (Greece v. United Kingdom)
  • Aegean Sea Continental Shelf (Greece v. Turkey)
  • Application of the Interim Accord of 13 September 1995 (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia v. Greece)

Guatemala

  • Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala)

Guinea-Bissau

  • Arbitral Award of 31 July 1989 (Guinea-Bissau v. Senegal)
  • Maritime Delimitation between Guinea-Bissau and Senegal (Guinea-Bissau v. Senegal)

Honduras

  • Arbitral Award Made by the King of Spain on 23 December 1906 (Honduras v. Nicaragua)
  • Border and Transborder Armed Actions (Nicaragua v. Honduras)
  • Territorial and Maritime Dispute between Nicaragua and Honduras in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Honduras)
  • Certain Questions concerning Diplomatic Relations (Honduras v. Brazil)

Hungary

  • Treatment in Hungary of Aircraft and Crew of United States of America (United States of America v. Hungarian People’s Republic)
  • Gab?íkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia)

Iceland

  • Fisheries Jurisdiction (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Iceland)

India

  • Right of Passage over Indian Territory (Portugal v. India)
  • Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council (India v. Pakistan)
  • Trial of Pakistani Prisoners of War (Pakistan v. India)
  • Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 (Pakistan v. India)
  • Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. India)

Indonesia

  • Sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia)

Iran, Islamic Republic of

  • Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. (United Kingdom v. Iran)
  • United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran (United States of America v. Iran)
  • Aerial Incident of 3 July 1988 (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America)
  • Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America)

Israel

  • Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (Israel v. Bulgaria)

Italy

  • Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI) (United States of America v. Italy)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Italy)

Japan

  • Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)

Kenya

  • Proceedings instituted by the Federal Republic of Somalia against the Republic of Kenya on 28 August 2014

Liberia

  • South West Africa (Liberia v. South Africa)

Libya

  • Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)
  • Continental Shelf (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya/Malta)
  • Application for Revision and Interpretation of the Judgment of 24 February 1982 in the Case concerning the Continental Shelf (Tunisia/Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) (Tunisia v. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya)
  • Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom)
  • Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States of America)

Malaysia

  • Sovereignty over Pedra Branca/Pulau Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge (Malaysia/Singapore)

Mali, Republic of

  • Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Republic of Mali)

Marshall Islands

  • Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. Pakistan)
  • Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. United Kingdom)

Mexico

  • Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America)
  • Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 31 March 2004 in the Case concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v. United States of America) (Mexico v. United States of America)

Namibia

  • Kasikili/Sedudu Island (Botswana/Namibia)

Nauru

  • Certain Phosphate Lands in Nauru (Nauru v. Australia)

Netherlands

  • Application of the Convention of 1902 Governing the Guardianship of Infants (Netherlands v. Sweden)
  • Sovereignty over Certain Frontier Land (Belgium/Netherlands)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Netherlands)

Nicaragua

  • Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America)

Niger

  • Frontier Dispute (Benin/Niger)
  • Frontier Dispute (Burkina Faso/Niger)

Norway

  • Fisheries (United Kingdom v. Norway)

Paraguay

  • Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (Paraguay v. United States of America)
  • Peru

Portugal

  • East Timor (Portugal v. Australia)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Portugal)

Qatar

  • Maritime Delimitation and Territorial Questions between Qatar and Bahrain (Qatar v. Bahrain)

Romania

  • Maritime Delimitation in the Black Sea (Romania v. Ukraine)

Senegal

  • Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal)

Serbia

  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Belgium)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. United Kingdom)

Montenegro

  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Belgium)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. United Kingdom)

Spain

  • Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain)
  • Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited (Belgium v. Spain) (New Application: 1962)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Yugoslavia v. Spain)

Switzerland

  • Interhandel (Switzerland v. United States of America)
  • Jurisdiction and Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (Belgium v. Switzerland)

Thailand

  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Timor-Leste

  • Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-­Leste v. Australia)

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

  • Treatment in Hungary of Aircraft and Crew of United States of America (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
  • Aerial Incident of 7 October 1952 (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
  • Aerial Incident of 4 September 1954 (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
  • Aerial Incident of 7 November 1954 (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania)
  • Antarctica (United Kingdom v. Argentina)
  • Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (United Kingdom v. Bulgaria)

United States of America

  • Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (United States of America v. Bulgaria)
  • Legality of Use of Force (Yugoslavia v. United States of America)

Uruguay

  • Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay)

Yugoslavia

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro)
  • Application for Revision of the Judgment of 11 July 1996 in the Case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Yugoslavia), Preliminary Objections (Yugoslavia v. Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Notes

(1) Report of the International Court of Justice, supra note 14, at 5: ‘ [o]ver the past year, the number of cases
pending before the Court has remained high. Whereas in the 1970s the Court had only one or two cases
on its docket at any one time, between 1990 and 1997 this number varied between nine and 13. Since
then it has stood at 20 or more. As a consequence of the fact that the Court, during the period under
review, has disposed of ten cases, the number now stands at 11. ’

(2) Dr Schulte began her study of state compliance with ICJ judgments thus: ‘ [b]usiness is booming for the
International Court of Justice. Its prestige and activity have reached unprecedented heights ’ : C. Schulte,
Compliance with Decisions of the International Court of Justice (2004), at 1.

(3) Judge Oda was a member of the ICJ for over a quarter of a century, having been elected as Judge in 1976
and re-elected twice more, retiring in 2003.

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