Report on the Decisions by the International Court of Justice 2022
This year the International Court of Justice heard three cases – Whaling in the Antarctic: Australia v. Japan, Jadhav (India v. Pakistan) and the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia). Prior to the conference this year, Member States’ party to the dispute submitted memorials arguing their positions, and Justices researched each case to become acquainted with the facts, arguments of each party, and applicable international law. Once the conference began, advocates from each party delivered oral arguments to the Court. Following oral arguments, closed deliberations take place among the Justices through which opinions are formulated. The Court produced multiple opinions for each of the cases, which can be found in the 2022 AMUN Final Report.
Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan)
The Commonwealth of Australia (“Australia”) petitioned the Court to review whether the Japanese Whale Research Program under Special Permit in the Antarctic (JARPA II) of 2005 was violating Japan’s commitment to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW). Australia argued Japan was not whaling for scientific purposes as agreed upon in the ICRW and JARPA but rather for commercial purposes. Japan justified its actions as use of nonlethal and lethal methods of whaling for scientific purposes under JARPA II. The Court produced three opinions for this case including a Majority, Concurring and Dissenting Opinion. The Majority Opinion found there was not enough evidence to support Japan’s claim that JARPA II was for scientific purposes. They further believed that Japan acted in bad faith when granting the permit for JARPA II and that there were exterior motives other than scientific research. However, they did not find sufficient evidence to terminate JARPA or prove that the whaling in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary was for commercial whaling. Therefore, the Court ordered the immediate suspension of the JARPA II for a period of five years, and redirected Australia and Japan to engage in bilateral negotiations. They recommended that the two member states “engage in bilateral negotiations to establish a framework to be implemented by the International Whaling Commission to determine the nature of JARPA II in the Southern Ocean Sanctuary and report their agreement to the IWC by 20 November 2027.” Additionally, the Court required Japan to take action as appropriate to ensure that all future scientific research programs on whaling conform with the ICRW and other international obligations.
Jadhav (India v. Pakistan)
In regards to the Jadha (India v. Pakistan) case, the Republic of India (“Indian”) instituted proceedings against the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (“Pakistan”) alleging that Pakistan had violated Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by failing to inform Indian in a timely manner of the arrest, detention and sentencing to death of Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav, an alleged Indian national. India claimed that Pakistan had neglected to inform Mr. Jadhav of his rights, failed to allow India’s consular officers to contact Mr. Jadhav and prevented India from providing proper representation for Mr. Jadhav. Pakistani authorities countered these allegations and insisted upon the legitimacy of their legal process. They further argued that conditional consular access was offered to India but emphasize the importance of protecting their state from Mr. Jadhav’s alleged engagements in “espionage, sabotage and terrorism.” Additionally, Pakistan further asserts that the case was inadmissible in the Court because of India’s alleged abuse of process, abuse of rights and unlawful conduct. Upon review of these arguments, the Court produced a Majority Opinion and Dissenting Opinion. The Majority Opinion found they have jurisdiction to hear that case under Article 36, Section 1 of the Statute of the Court as well as Article 1 of the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Consular Access. The Court found Pakistan in violation of its international obligations and urged them to find a remedy for this breach. Additionally, they requested Pakistan stay the executive on Mr. Jadhav and to allow reconsideration of the conviction of Mr. Jadhav by a higher Pakistani court. Finally, they request Pakistan to not repeat unlawful acts and ensure the exercise of rights by a foreign national under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia)
The Slovak Republic and Republic of Hungary submitted a Special Agreement to the Court regarding differences on implementation and termination of the Budapest Treaty of 1977. The Budapest Treaty was signed in 1977 between the Government of the Czechoslovak Socialst Republic (Czechoslovakia”) and the Government of the Hungarian People’s Republic (”Hungary”) to establish the joint construction of a hydroelectric system of locks on the Danube River, known as the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project. The two parties began construction on the project, but by 1989 Gabčíkovo (portion of the system owned by Czechoslovakia) was nearly complete while Nagymaros (portion owned by Hungary) had barely begun construction. Hungary argued that public opposition and environmental damage caused by the system delayed the construction of the dam, and the two parties began negotiating alternatives available. While seven alternatives were discussed, Variant C, was the only option allowing independent work by Czechoslovakia, which they began constructing. In 1992, Hungary unilaterally terminated the agreement through a note of verbale to the Czechoslovakian government. Following this notice, Czechoslovakia was dissolved and Slovakia attempted to assume the rights of the Member State under the treaty. Hungary argued that the treaty was nullified due to the environmental impacts of the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project. Additionally, they further asserted that the treaty could not be upheld by Slovakia since the agreement was signed with the government of Czechoslovakia. Slovakia argued that Hungary’s environment changes were negligible and did not rise to the “grave and imminent peril” standard set under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Upon review of the facts, international law and arguments of each party, the Court published a Majority and Concurring Opinion. The Court recognized Slovakia as the rightful successor of Czechoslovakia to the Budapest Treaty. Additionally, they ordered the immediate suspension of the Budapest Treaty due to the material breach of Slovakia under Article 1 of the Budapest Treaty, but they did not recognize that the environmental repercussions of the hydroelectric system had reached the level which voided the treaty. Finally, they requested both parties take measures to ensure compliance with international environmental law as well as respect the territorial integrity of other States.
In conclusion, the Advocates for each case expertly delivered their arguments, while the Justices diligently delivered concise and strongly substantiated opinions. The cases before the Court were complex international disputes, which required significant legal research and analysis by all parties involved.
Keep Up With The Accords
Subscribe to the AMUN Accords via email:
More to read
The AMUN Accords is a premier resource for fact-based Model United Nations simulations. We are always looking for new contributors. Want to write for the AMUN Accords? Check out out the submission guidelines and then get in touch!