Agenda Item 70: Report of the International Court of Justice (1 August 2015 – 31 July 2016)
United Nations, 27 October 2016
It is a particular honor and pleasure for the delegation of the Republic of Cyprus to address the General Assembly on its consideration of the Report of the International Court of Justice (A/71/4). We are grateful to President, Judge Ronny Abraham for his introduction of the report and for his insightful remarks on the work and functioning of the Court.
Our debate this year has special significance as we mark the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of the Court. We indeed welcome the commemorative activities and initiatives outlined in the Report. On this occasion we wish to commend the Court on its significant work as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and to pay tribute to past and present members of the Court who have served and who serve the Court with dedication and distinction.
In fact, since its creation in 1946, the Court has heard more than 160 cases, delivered 121 judgments and 27 advisory opinions, which have contributed significantly to the maintenance of peace and security, and to the development of international law.
During the period under review, the International Court of Justice experienced a high level of judicial activity with pending contentious cases involving States from all continents. This diverse geographical distribution of cases illustrates the universal character of the jurisdiction of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Moreover, the cases submitted to the Court involve a wide variety of subject matters, including: territorial and maritime disputes, unlawful use of force; interference in the domestic affairs of States; violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty, economic rights; international humanitarian and human rights law; genocide; environmental damage and conservation of living resources; immunities of States and their officials; and interpretation and application of international treaties and conventions. This diversity of subjects illustrates the general character of the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
This consistently high workload demonstrates the confidence placed in the Court and the respect shown to it by States. It is also imperative that the Court continues to modernize its work as a means to ensure that its work is carried our as expeditiously as possible, and has the necessary means that will continue to ensure its integrity, impartiality and independence.
As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the work of the International Court of Justice, bears utmost importance for promotion of the rule of law, friendly relations amongst States, and international peace and security. The Court’s jurisdiction over disputes has influenced and shaped international law through the peaceful settlement of disputes. With trust in Court’s capacity to deliver justice, in 2002 the Republic of Cyprus made a declaration for recognizing compulsory jurisdiction. To date, we are one of 72 countries in the world that has done so. We call upon States to recognize the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with the Article 36 of the Statute, thereby promoting and facilitating the International Court of Justice’s ability to maintain and promote the rule of law throughout the world.
I thank you for your attention.