Press Releases

    ICJ/614
                                                                                                                            28 June 2004

    International Court to Render Advisory Opinion in Case Concerning Wall in Occupied Palestinian Territories

    (Reissued as received.)

    THE HAGUE, 25 June (ICJ) -- The International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will render its Advisory Opinion in the case concerning the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (request for advisory opinion) on Friday 9 July 2004.

    A public sitting will be held at 3 p.m. in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace in The Hague, where the Court has its seat.  At that sitting, the President of the Court, Judge Shi Jiuyong, will read out the Advisory Opinion.

    Accreditation of Press and Admission of Public

    In view of the interest generated by the above-mentioned case, an online accreditation/admission procedure has been introduced for media representatives and members of the public wishing to attend the reading of the Court’s Advisory Opinion.  Two separate Press Releases dealing with these matters will be issued by the Court’s Information Department.  Interested media representatives and members of the public are invited to follow the instructions given in those Press Releases and to fill out the forms “Accreditation of the press” and “Admission of the public” which can be found on the home page of the Court’s website (www.icj-cij.org).  Applications for accreditation/admission must be submitted online by 1 July 2004.  Application forms for accreditation/admission will not be available after that date.

    Embassies and international organizations in the Netherlands will be informed by a separate Note Verbale of the measures taken to enable them to attend the public sitting.

    History of Proceedings

    On 8 December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/ES-10/10/14 (A/ES-10/L/16), in which, referring to Article 65 of the Statute of the Court, it requested the International Court of Justice to “urgently render an advisory opinion on the following question:

    What are the legal consequences arising from the construction of the wall being built by Israel, the occupying Power, in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, as described in the report of the Secretary-General, considering the rules and principles of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, and relevant Security Council and General Assembly resolutions?”

    The request for an advisory opinion was transmitted to the Court by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in a letter dated 8 December 2003, which was received in the Registry on 10 December 2003.  On 19 December 2003 the Court made an order organizing the proceedings.  It stated that the United Nations and its Member States, as well as Palestine, were likely to be able to furnish information on all aspects raised by the question submitted to the Court and fixed 30 January 2004 as the time limit within which they could submit written statements on the question.  It further fixed 23 February 2004 as the date for the opening of those hearings, and invited the United Nations and its Member States, as well as Palestine, to inform the Court’s Registry, by 13 February at the latest, if they intended to take part in the above-mentioned hearings. 

    Furthermore, by two separate letters of 15 January 2004 and 19 January 2004 respectively (see Press Releases 2004/1 and 2004/2), the Registry informed the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference that the Court had agreed to their request to participate in the proceedings and that accordingly they were authorized to submit to the Court a written statement by 30 January 2004 and to participate in the hearings. 

    The United Nations, 44 of its Member States, Palestine, the League of Arab States and the Organization of the Islamic Conference filed written statements within the time limit thus fixed by the Court.  The United Nations Member States which submitted a written statement were the following (in order of receipt):  Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cameroon, Russian Federation, Australia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Canada, Syria, Switzerland, Israel, Yemen, United States of America, Morocco, Indonesia, France, Italy, Sudan, South Africa, Germany, Japan, Norway, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland (on its own behalf and, separately, on behalf of the European Union), Cyprus, Brazil, Namibia, Malta, Malaysia, Netherlands, Cuba, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Senegal, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. 

    Subsequently, public hearings were held from 23 to 25 February 2004.  Fifteen oral statements were presented on behalf, respectively, of the following (in order of presentation):  Palestine, South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Belize, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Senegal, Sudan, the League of Arab States, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

    The full text of the Advisory Opinion will be available online on the Court’s website (www.icj-cij.org) upon completion of the reading on 9 July 2004.  Texts of the written statements and verbatim records of the hearings are already available online.  On the Court’s home page, click on “Docket”, and then on the hyperlink “Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (request for Advisory Opinion)”.  Then consult the menu displayed on the left-hand side of the screen. 

    Information Department:  Arthur Witteveen, First Secretary of the Court, tel.:  +31 70 302 23 36; or Laurence Blairon and Boris Heim, Information Officers, tel.:  +31 70 302 23 37, e–mail address:  information@icj-cij.org.

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