Press Releases

    GA/10411
    28 October 2005

    Continued Support of General Assembly Vital for International Court of Justice to Meet Growing Demands Improve Efficiency, Delegations Told

    NEW YORK, 27 October (UN Headquarters) -- With the growing complexity of its cases and steadily increasing workload, the International Court of Justice needed the General Assembly's continued support in order to meet growing administrative demands and to continue improving the Court's efficiency, the President of the top judicial organ of the United Nations said today.

    This year, the Hague-based Court had disposed of 10 cases and now had some 12 cases on its docket, even as it kept its overall working methods under continuous review to ensure prompt, durable and cost-effective proceedings, said the Court's President, Judge Shi Jiuyong, in an annual address to the Assembly.

    Those activities were bearing fruit as witnessed by the "unprecedented" level of activity at the Court over the past few years.  Much of that could not have been accomplished without the Assembly's help.  But with considerable work ahead, he called for the Assembly's continued support, particularly now that States were, more and more, beginning to realize how the Court could serve them and were trusting in the body to resolve their disputes with other nations.

    He reminded the Assembly that the Court's budget was less than 1 per cent of the total budget of the United Nations.  At the same time, he was fully aware of the Organization's difficult budgetary conditions.  The Court was aware of its own responsibility to apply its funds wisely. And with the current 2006-2007 budgetary request under consideration, the Court had made every effort to make financially modest proposals, which he hoped would meet with the Assembly's agreement.

    There was widespread support by many speakers in this morning's debate for the Court's work and numerous calls for enhancing its operations and respecting its jurisdiction and judgments.  Delegations also recalled that the Court had disposed of over 90 cases and handed down nearly 100 decisions in its near 60-year history, on matters ranging from boundary delineation to the legality of the use of force, to asylum and nationality.

    China's representative said States should address the growing strain on the Court's personnel and financial resources, to ensure that it could fully play its important role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.  That was particularly important since, although "peace and development" were the themes of the times, international relations often made States susceptible to instability and uncertainty.  Friendly relations should be governed and safeguarded by the rule of law, he said.

    But the representative of Mexico was concerned that an insufficient number of States had accepted the Court's compulsory jurisdiction, and he urged more States to consider doing so.  The Secretary-General should play a larger role in ensuring that parties followed the rulings of the Court.  Wider use might also be made of the Court's advisory powers if more international organizations were able to make requests directly to the Court for advisory opinions, he added.

    Kenya's representative was concerned that, because of the lack of major libraries in developing countries, and especially in Africa, to which the Court distributed its publications, law students in those countries were at a disadvantage.  The Court should take steps to ensure more equitable distribution of its publications.  The Court had undertaken activities to spread awareness of its activities and it could do even more in that regard.

    General Assembly President Jan Eliasson of Sweden echoed the assertion that it had become clear that the Court had a crucial and primary role to play in the settlement of international disputes.  He also stressed that recourse to the Court served as a pacifying measure.  He also highlighted the outcome of the recently concluded 2005 World Summit, in which political leaders had urged all States that had not done so to support the Court's work, including by supporting the Secretary-General's Trust Fund to Assist States in the Settlement of Disputes through the International Court of Justice.

    Also addressing the Assembly this morning were the representatives of New Zealand (also speaking on behalf of Canada and Australia), Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Republic of Korea, Peru, Egypt, Japan, Costa Rica, Cameroon, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Nigeria and Syria.

    The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 31 October, to consider, among other things, the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

    Background

    The General Assembly met this morning to consider the annual report of the International Court of Justice, the Organization's principal judicial organ. The Hague-based Court, also known as the World Court, has a dual role:  to settle in accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by States; and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.

    The annual report (document A/60/4) covers the period from 1 August 2004 through 31 July 2005.  It outlines the history, composition, jurisdiction and procedure of the 60-year-old Court, which consists of 15 judges elected for a term of nine years by both the Assembly and the Security Council.  Shi Jiuyong (China) is currently serving a three-year term as the Court's President, while Raymond Ranjeva (Madagascar) is serving as its Vice-President for three years.

    With Registrar Philippe Couvreur (Belgium), the current Court also includes Judges Abdul G. Koroma (Sierra Leone); Vladlen S. Vereshchetin (Russian Federation); Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom); Gonzalo Parra-Aranguren (Venezuela); Pieter H. Kooijmans (Netherlands); Francisco Rezek (Brazil); Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (Jordan); Thomas Buergenthal (United States); Nabil Elaraby (Egypt); Hisashi Owada (Japan); Bruno Simma (Germany); Peter Tomka (Slovakia); and Ronny Abraham (France).

    The report notes that, over the past year, the number of cases pending before the Court has remained high -- generally around 20 or so -- as has been the case since the 1990s.  This year, the Court disposed of 10 cases and now has some 11 cases on its docket.  The contentious cases were from all regions, with three currently involving African States, one between Asian States, four between European States, two involving Latin American States, with one of an intercontinental character.

    The subject matter of the cases varies widely, from requests for determination of land or maritime boundaries to complaints of a State concerning the treatment of one or more of its citizens in another State.  The report also notes that some of its cases had come to the attention of the Assembly, as well as the Security Council, such as the two separate charges levelled by the Democratic Republic of the Congo that it has been a victim of armed aggression by Uganda and Rwanda, respectively.

    The Court is also seized of two cases in which Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, respectively, have sought to condemn Serbia and Montenegro for violations of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  The report follows with a brief run-through of several other cases before the Court, including the remaining eight of 10 initial cases concerning "Legality of use of force (Serbia and Montenegro v. Belgium), a 1999 charge by Serbia and Montenegro that each of the respondent States had "violated its international obligation banning the use of force against another State" and other obligations under the Genocide Convention.

    The report also highlights some of the ways in which the Court has been attempting to streamline its working methods and procedures, including making greater use of new information and communications technology (ICT) at many levels.  Measures most recently adopted mostly concern internal functioning of the Court and provide practical methods for increasing the number of decisions rendered each year, thereby shortening the period between the closure of written proceedings and the opening of oral proceedings.  Along with the Court's increased reliance on new technology has come the need for a Professional staff with the requisite skills.  And although last year's request for such staff had been unsuccessful, the Court hopes the Assembly would this year favourably consider its request for a senior Professional post at the P-4 level.

    Also before the Assembly is the Secretary-General's report on his Trust Fund to Assist States in the Settlement of Disputes through the International Court of Justice (document A/60/330), which states that, as at 30 June, the total balance of the Fund was $2,008,766.47.  Noting that the number of contributions remains low, the Secretary-General strongly urges all States and other relevant entities to give serious consideration to making contributions to the Fund in a substantial manner and on a regular basis.

    Statement by President of International Court of Justice

    SHI JIUYONG, President of the International Court of Justice, introduced a review of the Court's work for the period 1 August 2004 to 1 July 2005, saying initially that some 191 States were party to the Court's statute, and 66 of them had accepted the body's compulsory jurisdiction. Since his address to the Assembly last year, the Court had rendered a final judgment in 10 cases concerning the "legality of the use of force", and had held oral hearings in three others.

    The Court now had 21 cases on its docket, with 12 on the General List, he said, stressing that although that number was still substantial, 12 cases was a far cry from what had not so long ago been thought of as a backlog of work before the Court.  He highlighted the nature of some of the disputes before the Court, from cases deliberating land or maritime boundaries to those involving the treatment of nationals of one State by other States, as well as on the legality of the use of force.  The Court was also seized with two cases in which Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, respectively, had sought condemnation of Serbia and Montenegro for violations of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

    He also described in detail the series of hearings, orders and judgments surrounding the 10 cases on the legality of the use of force that had been brought against various States by Serbia and Montenegro, finding in each instance that the Court had no jurisdiction to entertain those claims.  Turning to a recent decision, he noted that in July the Court's Trial Chamber had rendered its judgment regarding the border dispute between Benin and the Niger, determining the course of the boundary between the two Parties in the sector of the River Niger, as well as which of the islands in the River belonged to each Party.

    He noted that it was not easy for the public to understand the intensity and complexity of the Court's work, nor the rate at which its workload was growing.  Over the past decade, the Court had made tremendous efforts to increase its judicial efficiency while maintaining the high quality of its work.  It had modernized the organization of its registry, reviewed and adapted its internal working methods, and even modified its rule where necessary.  Far from resting on its laurels, the Court kept its overall working methods under continuous review, he said.  Those activities were bearing fruit as witnessed by the unprecedented level of activity at the Court over the past few years.  Much of that could not have been accomplished without the Assembly's help.

    But there was considerable work ahead, he said, calling for the Assembly's continued support.  To that end, it was important to remember that the Court's budget was less than 1 per cent of the budget of the United Nations.  The Court was also fully aware of the Organization's difficult budgetary conditions.  It was equally aware of its own responsibility to apply its funds wisely.  With the current budgetary request for the biennium 2006-2007 currently under consideration, the Court had made every effort to restrict itself to financially modest proposals.  He hoped that those proposals would meet with the Assembly's agreement.

    More and more, States were beginning to realize how the Court could serve them and were trusting in it to resolve their disputes with other nations. Indeed, the Court had a crucial role to play in the peaceful settlement of international disputes and the promotion and application of international law.  He stressed that the Court was the only international judicial body with general jurisdiction, enabling it to deal with any issue concerning international law and to take into account global judicial developments across the entire spectrum of international relations.  It was, therefore, ideally equipped to settle quickly and durably, at minimal cost, any type of legal dispute, regardless of the status of the relationship between the litigants.

    JAN ELIASSON (Sweden), President of the General Assembly, echoed the assertion of the President of the Court that it had become clear that the Court had a crucial and primary role to play in the settlement of international disputes.  He also stressed that recourse to the Court served as a pacifying measure.  He highlighted the outcome of the recently concluded 2005 World Summit, in which political leaders had urged all States that had not done so to support the Court's work, including by supporting the Secretary-General's Trust Fund to Assist States in the Settlement of Disputes through the International Court of Justice.

    Statements

    TIM MCIVOR (New Zealand), also speaking on behalf of Canada and Australia, said that universal adherence to the international rule of law was crucial for a peaceful world.  The confidence of Canada, Australia and New Zealand in the Court was reflected in their acceptance of the Court's compulsory jurisdiction.  He encouraged other States to also demonstrate their acceptance of the Court's compulsory jurisdiction.  He was pleased at the Court's progress in improving its working methods and the fact that it had disposed of 10 cases in 2004-2005 and had another 11 cases currently on its docket.  He said gone were the days when the Court's docket was virtually empty.  The growing workload reflected the international community's increasing confidence in the Court.

    He also supported the work of specialized courts such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Criminal Court.  But, the International Court of Justice remained the only international court of general jurisdiction.  It was important that smaller States had access to the impartial forum it provided for resolving their disputes.

    LIU ZHENMIN (China) recalled that the Court had disposed of over 90 cases and handed down nearly 100 decisions in the last 60 years, on matters ranging from boundary delineation to the obligation not to use force, to asylum and nationality.  The Court had also handed down 25 advisory opinion on matters related to the United Nations, the threat of the use of nuclear weapons and the legal consequences of the wall being constructed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  Those judicial activities facilitated the development of international law.

    The Court's workload was increasing as it gained recognition and the confidence of the international community, he continued.  Member States should address the growing strain on the Court's personnel and financial resources to ensure that it could fully play its role.  While peace and development were the themes of the times, international relations and development as a whole occasioned a susceptibility to instability and uncertainty.  Friendly relations should be governed and safeguarded by the rule of law.  The Court played an important role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.

    EDMUND CHONG KET WAH (Malaysia) said the increasing recourse by States to judicial settlement of their disputes had granted the Court a central role in the administration of international justice.  Confidence in the Court had proven it to be the most appropriate forum for a peaceful and final resolution of disputes when all efforts at diplomacy were exhausted.  His own country and Indonesia had resorted to the Court in their dispute over the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan.  Both countries had accepted the Court's decision as final and binding.  Both were also satisfied that the process through the Court had been fair, transparent, responsible and dignified.  Malaysia was confident its dispute with Singapore over territories would be resolved in the same manner by the Court.

    Taking note of the Secretary-General's report on the Trust Fund, he called for contributions to be made.  He also commended the Court's efforts to increase public awareness and understanding of its work, mentioning the lectures delivered, publications put out, press releases and, most notably, the website available to professionals as an important resource on the latest developments in international case law.  He called for adequate funding for the Court's operations.

    NIGEL HATCH (Sri Lanka) said the dramatic increase in the number of disputes now being referred to the Court, compared to the 1970s, was a clear indication of the international community's confidence in the Court's work.  Its judgments and advisory opinions impacted not only the international legal system, but also the judicial decisions and the development of the municipal law of States.

    He said it was relevant to recall the invaluable contribution made by Judge C.G. Weeramantry of Sri Lanka, who was Vice-President of the Court when it issued its judgment in the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project (Danube case) of 25 September 1997.  Judge Weeramantry's concurring opinion was subsequently cited by Sri Lanka's Supreme Court in a 2000 decision that dealt with important issues of environmental law.

    He welcomed the Court's steady progress in disseminating information on its work, especially via electronic means.  Its website was a valuable tool, and Member States should consider providing greater means to improve and expand those facilities.  That was of particular importance to law students, academics and practitioners from developing countries.

    PARK HEE-KWON (Republic of Korea) said the report showed that the Court had diligently accomplished its duties as the principal legal organ of the United Nations.  However, the 2004 Legality of Use of Force case between Serbia and Montenegro and the eight States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was seemingly inconsistent with its earlier decision in Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro).  Consistency in jurisprudence was of paramount importance for maintaining States' trust in the Court and ensuring the Court's reputation for impartiality.  He hoped that the judgment in the pending Genocide case would clarify any lingering doubts about the consistency of the Court's case law.  The Court's advisory function was underused, and proposals to expand that role merited further consideration.

    He said that the more successful the Court was in fulfilling its responsibilities, the more cases would be brought before it.  Adequate resources should be allocated to meet the growing workload, as well as to expand the Court's Computerized Division.  Member States should avoid overburdening the Court with unnecessary requests for provisional measures, preliminary objections or applications of cases as a pure litigation strategy.  With the proliferation of international courts and tribunals, the importance of the Court's leadership role as the only universal international court with general jurisdiction could not be overstated.  It must not only give the last word in international disputes, but also distribute and disseminate its work widely, and keep the international judicial bodies informed of each other's achievements.

    YELLA ZANELLI (Peru) said that, since its creation, the Court had played a crucial role in ending disputes and enforcing international law.  The fact that more cases had recently been submitted to the Court testified to the increasing willingness of States to solve their disputes in a peaceful manner, in accordance with the international rule of law.

    She said that the Court's contribution to the achievement of the fundamental principals of the United Nations by means of the peaceful solution of controversies among States was something Peru considered of highest importance.  The Court needed to have universal jurisdiction.  Peru also joined in the repeated appeal of the Secretary-General that States, non-governmental organizations and other international institutions and organizations contribute to the Trust Fund.   In addition, she encouraged the Court to consider more options to more broadly disseminate information in different languages about its work.

    JOEL HERNANDEZ (Mexico) said his country was committed to the Court, whose work was critical.  Strengthening the international legal regime underpinned the basic principles of the United Nations.  The annual dialogue between the General Assembly and the Court strengthened both bodies.  The growing number of cases before the Court showed the growing respect and confidence it commanded.  But, the growing caseload demanded a review of its procedures and working methods.  Mexico welcomed the Court's acceptance of new procedures.  An amendment which prescribed clearer documentation before the Court was one of many positive steps.

    An insufficient number of States had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court, and he urged more States to consider doing so.  The Secretary General should play a larger role in ensuring that parties followed the rulings of the Court.  Before a case of non-compliance was referred to the Security Council, the Secretary-General could play a more active role in achieving compliance.  Wider use might also be made of the Court's advisory powers if more international organizations were able to make requests directly to the Court for advisory opinions.  It would also be beneficial if the Secretary-General could refer matters to the Court for an advisory opinion.

    MAGED ABDELFATTAH ABDELAZIZ (Egypt) said the Court's work reflected the great importance attached to the promotion of international law in international relations.  Promoting peaceful coexistence among peoples and respect for the rule of law was a fundamental role played by the Court.  It was important that the Court's rulings remained based on the principles of international law, and free from any political influences.  At a time when the United Nations was going through an important process of change, it was also important for the Court to reflect the principles of the United Nations in promoting international justice.

    It was troubling that some States were hesitant to recognize the important role of the Court, he said.  That role was to develop and enrich international law, and there was now an urgent need to use the experience of that principal legal organ to strengthen the Security Council's resolutions.  The Council and the Assembly needed to turn to the Court to request more advisory opinions.  The advisory opinions should be taken seriously, particularly the recent advisory opinion issued by the Court on the building of the wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  The Court's advisory opinion on the wall clearly showed that it was illegal to occupy anyone's land by force.  He encouraged Member States to request the Court's opinion about the legal aspects of issues and to implement the Court's rulings.

    SHINICHI KITAOKA (Japan) said that since the international community continued to witness armed conflicts and terrorism, the enforcement of international law was indispensable.  The role of the Court could not be overstated.  Japan was resolutely dedicated to peace and respect for international law and appreciated the Court's strenuous efforts.  The Court was not only required to display profound knowledge of the law, but also to offer an insightful view of what was occurring in the international community.

    He said it was necessary to take note of the Court's remarkable accomplishments this year, which significantly reduced the number of cases in its docket.  Given that the backlog had been much discussed in the past, the current level of achievement was worthy of admiration.  It was expected that the Court could continue its current pace without compromising the quality of its work.  The lofty goals and work of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations was of great importance, and Japan would maintain its firm commitment to supporting the Court in its work.

    JUDITH MBULA BAHEMUKA (Kenya) said the Court played a critical role in ensuring justice and equity among nations, as well as in the maintenance of peace.  The growing number and variety of cases that were coming before it indicated the growing respect the Court was gaining among States.  Significant improvements had been made in the workings of the Court, but more work was required in order to eventually eliminate backlog.  To achieve those improvements, regular reviews of its working methods and procedures should be undertaken.  To further strengthen the Court, Kenya endorsed the expansion of its financial resources and the addition of a Professional post for its Computerization Division.

    She appreciated the Court's publications, but was concerned that because of the lack of major libraries in developing countries, and especially in Africa, to which the Court distributed its publications, law students in those countries were at a disadvantage.  The Court should take that into consideration and take steps to ensure the more equitable distribution of its publications.  The Court had undertaken activities to spread awareness of its activities and it could do even more in that regard.  She was concerned that only 65 States had declared their acceptance of the Court's compulsory jurisdiction.  She urged other States to do so, and to make greater use of the Court's powers to issue advisory opinions.

    BRUNO STAGNO UGARTE (Costa Rica) said Costa Rica completely supported the Court's work, and demonstrated that confidence by recently submitting to it a contentious case involving legal differences with Nicaragua over Costa Rica's rights of navigation in the San Juan River.  The peaceful settlement of disputes could never be an unfriendly act between States.  A lack of clear norms and doubts regarding obligations created an environment that did not promote coordinated development and mutual assistance.  The Court produced legal certainty and clarified basic norms.  Its jurisdiction in contentious cases and advisory opinions not only determined laws for the parties involved, but also enlightened other States to obscure areas of the law.

    Unfortunately, he said, the Court's work was hampered by States that included reservations or conditions in their acceptance of its jurisdiction.  Regrettably, only 65 States had accepted the Court's jurisdiction, and just a dozen countries had done so without conditions.  Acceptance of the Court's jurisdiction without limit was indispensable for the proper functioning of the legal order.  States that had not accepted that jurisdiction should do so and those who had made reservations should withdraw them.

    He said he believed the frequent use of the Court must be encouraged.  To accommodate the growing caseload, the Assembly should provide the Court with sufficient resources and personnel.  He noted the request for two additional posts, one in the Computerization Division and one in the President's Office.  Excellent Internet dissemination was invaluable to developing States, which sometimes found it difficult to access recent jurisprudence.  He trusted the Court would soon be able to include complete texts of all past jurisprudence on its web page.

    MARTIN BELINGA EBOUTOU (Cameroon) said the Court was an important institution, and the fact that an increasing number of cases were coming before it indicated the growing confidence States had in the Court. However, it was disappointing that more States had not accepted the Court's compulsory jurisdiction.  The inertia in that regard was somewhat offset by the number of bilateral agreements that had been signed that gave the Court jurisdiction in any disputes that arose between the parties.

    It was imperative that States comply with the rulings of the Court, he said.  Otherwise, it would be impossible for the Court to do its work.  The international community could play a more active role in obtaining compliance with the Court.  Cameroon was pleased with the Court's efforts to improve its operations and it supported the provision of more funds for its functioning, as requested by the Secretary-General.

    AIZAZ AHMAD CHAUDHRY (Pakistan) said the need for international legal order and justice was never as acutely felt as today.  The vast potential of the United Nations and its organs to play an important role in the peaceful settlement of disputes and conflict prevention remained grossly underutilized.  There had been a marked increase in excessive and immediate resort to Chapter VII, including on issues that did not necessarily pose a threat to international peace and security.  At the same time, the Charter's provisions for peaceful settlement had not been fully exhausted.  Only 65 countries, including Pakistan, had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.  Recourse to the Court's advisory jurisdiction had also been quite rare.

    He said that all States should make more frequent use of the Court's jurisdiction.  When submission of a dispute to the full Court was not practical, the chambers should be used.  Consideration should be given to authorizing the Secretary-General to request advisory opinions in matters pertaining to his functions.  In cases of non-compliance with the Court's judgments, the Secretary-General should play an ever more active role in facilitating and securing the implementation of the judgment.  The Security Council should much more frequently use its powers to recommend that legal disputes be referred to the Court.  The General Assembly should provide the Court with the resources needed to perform its work effectively and efficiently, giving positive consideration to its request for a new senior Professional post for the head of its Computerization Division.

    He said all Member States should advance the concept of the non-use of force and peaceful settlement of disputes as a means of achieving collective security.  Parties to any dispute must assume their responsibilities to settle it peacefully, making the most effective use of the mechanisms, procedures and methods available.  Member States should promote the realization by peoples under colonial and other forms of alien or foreign occupation of their inalienable right to self-determination, freedom and independence.

    DMITRY A. LOBACH (Russian Federation) said that his country welcomed the growing role of the Court, a unique and increasingly effective and legitimate tribunal, in adjudicating issues between States.  More and more States had turned to the Court to arbitrate disputes because of the Court's growing professionalism and the legitimacy of its decisions.  It was essential that States comply with the Court's judgments.  It was particularly important too that more States accept the Court's compulsory jurisdiction.  The Russian Federation was reconsidering its objection to the Court having jurisdiction in a number of areas, including in cases having to do with efforts to fight terrorism.

    He welcomed the role of the Court in providing advisory opinions, but cautioned against the Court doing so in cases where both parties did not recognize the Court's jurisdiction.  The Court had rationalized its work with, among other things, the wider use of information technology.  He urged the speedy resolution of outstanding issues impeding the optimal working of the Court, including the request for financing for the additional use of information technology.

    USMAN BUGAJE (Nigeria) said it was not encouraging that only 65 of 191 States had accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.  The Court's invaluable contribution to international peace and security through impartial and authoritative decisions, as well as sound advisory opinions, could not be overemphasized.  The increased confidence States placed in the Court's ability to resolve disputes was a welcome development.  It was encouraging that an increasing number of States had recently submitted specific disputes to the Court by way of special agreement.

    Turning to concerns over the funding of the Court, he said that Nigeria shared the concern over the Court's budget, and reaffirmed its support for adequate funding to enable the Court to meet its needs.  In particular, that would assist the Court to keep pace with the advancement of modern technology that it required for the discharge of its functions.

    FAYSSAL MEKDAD (Syria) said he wished to pay tribute to the Court for ongoing contributions to international law and for encouraging justice among States.  The Court was completely empowered to fulfil its tasks, as confirmed by its intense work during the period covered by the report.  Respect for the Court's opinions meant respect for the law.  Justice was not a concept in itself; implementation of principles was what counted.

    He cited the advisory opinion regarding Israel's building of a separation wall, which the Court found was counter to international law.  All Member States should acknowledge that judgment, and it was incumbent upon Israel to fulfil its responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention.  Despite the Court's ruling, and resolutions by the Assembly and Security Council, that the wall violated international law, Israel persisted in its position.

    He said the United Nations was experiencing a wave of extremely important reform.  It would be wise if that reform related to the entire Organization, including the Court.  The Court must fulfil its mandate vis-à-vis the work of other organs, including the Security Council, which had, in some cases, gone beyond its competence.  If States wanted the Court to be efficient and serve the international community, they must respond to its needs for financing and human resources.  He encouraged all Member States to make voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund.

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