International Law – Cases

2008 and ongoing

Aerial Herbicide Spraying (Ecuador v. Colombia) International Court of Justice

The ICJ, on 21 October 2011, taking into account the views of the litigant Parties extended the time-limit for the filing of the Rejoinder of the Republic of Colombia in the case concerning Aerial Herbicide Spraying from 1 December 2011 to 1 February 2012. The subsequent procedure has been reserved for further decision. In his Order of 19 October 2011, the President of the International Court of Justice pointed out that, in a letter dated 6 October 2011 and received in the Registry on the same day, the Agent of the Republic of Colombia had referred to “the time necessary to obtain the complete file of documents obtained by Ecuador under the United States Freedom of Information Act (some of which were tendered with the Reply)”, and had asked the Court, “[t]aking into account the difficulties posed by the December holiday season, which will delay printing and proofing of the Rejoinder until January”, to extend the time-limit for the filing of the Rejoinder of Colombia until 1 February 2012. In the same Order, the President then pointed out that, on receipt of that letter, the Registrar had transmitted a copy thereof to the Agent of the Republic of Ecuador who, by letter dated 18 October 2011 and received in the Registry on the same day, had indicated, inter alia, that his Government had no objection to the extension of the time-limit for the filing of the Rejoinder, as requested by the Republic of Colombia.

The case, as of November 2010, is on the stage of the Reply by Ecuador and a Rejoinder by Colombia. In March 2008, Ecuador seised the International Court of Justice of a dispute between itself and Colombia concerning the alleged “aerial spraying [by Colombia] of toxic herbicides at locations near, at and across its border with Ecuador”. In its Application Ecuador states that “the spraying has already caused serious damage to people, to crops, to animals, and to the natural environment on the Ecuadorian side of the frontier, and poses a grave risk of further damage over time”. It further contends that it has made “repeated and sustained efforts to negotiate an end to the fumigations” but that “these negotiations have proved unsuccessful”.

 

2000

Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 (Pakistan v. India) Jurisdiction of the Court – Judgment of 21 June 2000, International Court of Justice Reports 2000, p. 12

NB. The Court declared that it has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the dispute.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan instituted proceedings against India before the International Court of Justice concerning the shooting down of a Pakistani aircraft by Indian air force planes on 10 August 1999. In its Application filed in the Registry on 21 September 1999 Pakistan contended that the “unarmed Atlantique aircraft of the Pakistan navy was on a routine training mission with sixteen personnel on board” when “while flying over Pakistan air space it was fired upon with air to air missiles by Indian air force planes, without warning”, resulting in the death of all 16 personnel, “mostly young naval trainees”. It maintains that the aircraft, when shot down, was in an area situated approximately 70 to 90 miles east of Karachi and that it was “carrying out various training exercises and manoeuvres of instrument”. According to Pakistan, after radar contact was lost with the aircraft at 10.55 a.m., an intensive search was undertaken by Pakistani aircraft and helicopters and the wreckage was discovered around 2.55 p.m. 2 kilometres inside Pakistan territory. Pakistan further maintained that in the two and a half hours which elapsed between the shooting down and the discovery of the wreckage, “Indian helicopters … sneaked into Pakistan’s territory to pick up a few items from the debris … in order to produce ‘evidence’ for [India's] initial claim that the Atlantique had been shot down over Indian air space”. However, according to Pakistan, because of the “overwhelming evidence …Indian officials were obliged to admit that the Atlantique had indeed been shot down over Pakistan’s air space”.

 

1996

Aerial Incident of 3 July 1988 (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) Order of 22 February 1996 – International Court of Justice Reports 1996, p. 9

The case was removed from the Court’s list after the Parties to the dispute requested the Court to discontinue the proceedings.

 

1992

Arbitration concerning Heathrow Airport User Charges (United States – United Kingdom) 30 November 1992, RIAA Volume XXIV pp. 3-334 [Award on the First Question, revised 18 June 1993, q.v., Arbitration concerning Heathrow Airport User Charges (United States - United Kingdom) 30 November 1992 - 2 May 1994, RIAA Volume XXIV pp. 1-359]

The arbitral tribunal was requested to decide: (I) whether, in relation to the charges imposed for the use of London Heathrow Airport upon airlines designated by the Government of the United States of America under Article 3 of the Air Services Agreement, done at Bermuda on July 23, 1977, the Government of the United Kingdom have failed to fulfil their obligations under Article 10 of the said Air Services Agreement, interpreted having regard to, inter alia, the Memorandum of Understanding between the two Governments on Airport User Charges of April 6, 1983, in any of the charging periods beginning on or after April 1, 1983. (II) If the answer to the foregoing question is in the affirmative, the Tribunal is further requested to decide what, if any, remedy or relief should be awarded.

Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United Kingdom) Preliminary Objections, Judgment of 27 February 1998, International Court of Justice Reports 1998, p. 9 and Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v. United States) Preliminary Objections, Judgment of 27 February 1998, International Court of Justice Reports 1998, p. 115

The cases were removed from the Court’s list on 10 September 2003 after the Parties to the dispute requested the Court to discontinue the proceeding.

Objection to jurisdiction – Montreal Convention of 23 September 1971 – Treaty in force between the Parties – Article 14, paragraph 1, of the Convention – Grounds for lack of jurisdiction invoked in the provisional measures phase – Arguments not reiterated in the present phase of the proceedings – Necessity for the Court nonetheless to deal with those
arguments – Negotiations -Request for arbitration – Six-month period before the Court can be seised – Contention that no legal dispute exists concerning the interpretation and application of the Montreal Convention – Dispute of a general nature as to the legal régime applicable to the destruction of the Pan Am aircraft over Lockerbie – Specific disputes concerning the interpretation and application of Article 7 of the Convention, read in conjunction with Articles 1, 5, 6 and 8, and the interpretation and application of Article II of the Convention. Contention that it is not for the Court to decide on the lawfulness of actions instituted by the Respondent to secure the surrender of the two alleged offenders -
Jurisdiction of the Court to decide on the lawfulness of those actions in so far as they would be at variance with the provisions of the Montreal Convention. Security Council resolutions 748 (1992) and 883 (1993) – Adoption after filing of the Application – Jurisdiction to be determined at the date filing of the Application.

The case had been brought before the International Court of Justice on 3 March 1992 by Libya, against the United Kingdom and the United States of America, in respect of disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the Montreal Convention of 23 September 1971 for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, arising from the Lockerbie aerial incident, the destruction of the aircraft on Pan Am flight 103 on 21 December 1988, and to charges brought by the Lord Advocate for Scotland in November 1991 against two Libyan nationals suspected of having caused a bomb to be placed aboard the aircraft, which bomb had exploded causing the aeroplane to crash. Libya requested the Court to adjudge and declare: (a) that the Montreal Convention is applicable to this dispute; (b) that Libya has fully complied with all of its obligations under the Montreal Convention and is justified in exercising the criminal jurisdiction provided for by that Convention; (c) that the United Kingdom and the United States have breached, and is continuing to breach, its legal obligations to Libya under Article 5, paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 7, Article 8,paragraph 3, and Article 11 of the Montreal Convention; (d) that the United Kingdom and the United States are under a legal obligation to respect Libya’s right not to have the Convention set aside by means which would in any case be at variance with the principles of the United Nations Charter and with the mandatory rules of general international law prohibiting the use of force and the violation of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, sovereign equality and political independence of States.

After the United Kingdom and the United States had raised preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the Applications, the Court, in two separate Judgments of 27 February 1998, found that there existed disputes between the Parties concerning the interpretation or application of the Montreal Convention, and that it had jurisdiction to hear the disputes on the basis of Article 14, paragraph 1, of the Convention. The Court also found the Libyan claims admissible and stated that it was appropriate, at that stage of the proceedings, to make a decision on the arguments of the United Kingdom and the United States that resolutions of the United Nations Security Council had rendered these claims without object. The written procedure on the merits had then been resumed. In each of the two cases, a Memorial, a Counter-Memorial, a Reply and a Rejoinder had been submitted by the Parties within the prescribed time-limits.

 

1972

Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council (India v. Pakistan) Judgment of 18 August 1972, International Court of Justice Reports 1972, p. 46.

Appeal from decisions of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization assuming jurisdiction in respect of an Application and a Complaint made to it by Pakistan concerning the suspension by India, in alleged breach of the 1944 Chicago International Civil Aviation Convention and International Air Services Transit Agreement, of flights of Pakistan civil aircraft over Indian territory–Competence of the Court to entertain the Appeal – interpretation of the jurisdictional clauses of these instruments – Jurisdiction of the Council to entertain the dispute between India and Pakistan – Question of whether this dispute involved a “disagreement . . . relating to the interpretation or application of the Chicago Convention and Transit Agreement – Alleged irregularities in the procedure of the Council – Relevance of this question to the task of the Court in the present case.

Under the International Civil Aviation Convention and the International Air Services Transit Agreement, both signed in Chicago in 1944, the civil aircraft of Pakistan had the right to overfly Indian territory. Hostilities interrupting overflights broke out between the two countries in August 1965, but in February 1966 they came to an agreement that there should be an immediate resumption of overflights on the same basis as before 1 August 1965. Pakistan interpreted that undertaking as meaning that overflights would be resumed on the basis of the Convention and Transit Agreement, but India maintained that those two Treaties had been suspended during the hostilities and were never as such revived, and that overflights were resumed on the basis of a special regime according to which they could take place only after permission had been granted by India. Pakistan denied that any such regime ever came into existence and maintained that the Treaties had never ceased to be applicable since 1966. On 4 February 1971, following a hijacking incident involving the diversion of an Indian aircraft to Pakistan, India suspended overflights of its territory by Pakistan civil aircraft. On 3 March 1971 Pakistan, alleging that India was in breach of the two Treaties, submitted to the ICAO Council (a) an Application under Article 84 of the Chicago Convention and Article II, Section 2, of the Transit Agreement; (b) a Complaint under Article II, Section 1, of the Transit Agreement. India having raised preliminary objections to its jurisdiction, the Council declared itself competent by decisions given on 29 July 1971. On 30 August 1971 India appealed from those decisions, founding its right to do so and the Court, jurisdiction to entertain the appeal on Article 84 of the Chicago Convention and Article II. Section 2, the Transit Agreement.

The International Court of Justice rejected the Government of Pakistan’s objections on the question of its competence, and found that it had jurisdiction to entertain India’s appeal; and held that the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization to be competent to entertain the Application and Complaint laid before it by the Government of Pakistan on 3 March 1971; and in consequence, rejected the appeal made to the Court by the Government of India against the decision of the Council assuming jurisdiction in those respects.

 

1965

Interpretation of the air transport services agreement between the United States of America and Italy, signed at Rome on 6 February 1948 (Italy – United States) 17 July 1965, RIAA Volume XVI pp. 75-108

The arbitral tribunal was requested to decide the following question: Whether the Air Transport Agreement between the United States of America and Italy of February 6, 1948, as amended, grant the right to a designated airline of either party to operate scheduled nights carrying cargo only?

 

1963

Interpretation of the air transport services agreement between the United States of America and France signed at Paris on 27 March 1946 (United States – France) 22 December 1963, RIAA Volume XVI pp. 5-74

The arbitral tribunal was requested to decide the following questions: (I) Under the provisions of the Air Transport Services Agreement between the United States of America and France, and in particular the terms of Route 1 of Schedule II of the Annex to that Agreement, does a United States airline have the right to provide international aviation services between the United States and Turkey via Paris and does it have the right to carry traffic which is embarked in Paris and disembarked at Istanbul, Ankara or other points in Turkey, or embarked at Istanbul, Ankara or other points in Turkey and disembarked at Paris? (II) Under the provisions of the Air Transport Services Agreement between the United States of America and France, and in particular the terms of Route 1 of Schedule II of the Annex to that Agreement, does a United States airline have the right to provide international aviation services between the United States and Iran via Paris and does it have the right to carry traffic which is embarked in Paris and disembarked at Tehran or other points in Iran, or embarked in Tehran or other points in Iran and disembarked at Paris?

 

1960

Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (United States v. Bulgaria) Order of 30 May 1960 – International Court of Justice Reports 1960, p. 146

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 3 August 1959 [See: Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (Israel v. Bulgaria)].

 

1959

Aerial Incident of 4 September 1954 (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Order of 9 December 1959 – International Court of Justice Reports 1959, p. 158

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 9 December 1959.

Aerial Incident of 7 November 1954 (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Order of 7 October 1959 – International Court of Justice Reports 1959, p. 276.

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 7 October 1959.

Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (United Kingdom v. Bulgaria) Order of 3 August 1959 – International Court of Justice Reports 1959, p. 264

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 3 August 1959 [See: Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (Israel v. Bulgaria)]

Aerial Incident of 27 July 1955 (Israel v. Bulgaria) Preliminary Objections, Judgment of 26 May 1959, International Court of Justice Reports 1959, p. 127.

NB. The Court declared that it has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the dispute.

Israel instituted proceedings against Bulgaria before the International Court of Justice concerning the shooting down of an aircraft belonging to the Israeli airline company El Al Israel Airlines Ltd by units of the Bulgarian Security forces. The fifty-one passengers and seven crew members were killed. Among the passengers were also nationals of the United Kingdom and United States of America. The Government of Israel claimed damages from the Bulgarian Government through diplomatic channels. The negotiations not having proved successful, it requested the Court to declare that Bulgaria is responsible under international law for the damage caused and to determine the amount of  compensation due.

 

1954

Treatment in Hungary of Aircraft and Crew of United States of America (United States v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Order of 12 July 1954 – International Court of Justice Reports 1954, p. 103.

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 12 July 1954.

 

1953

Aerial Incident of 10 March 1953 (United States of America v. Czechoslovakia) Order of 14 March 1956 – International Court of Justice Reports 1966, p. 6

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 14 March 1956.

 

1952

Aerial Incident of 7 October 1952 (United States of America v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) Order of 14 March 1956 – International Court of Justice Reports 1956, p. 9

The case was removed from the Court’s list on 14 March 1956.

 

 

 

Image: Tim Beach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Be Sociable, Share!