Statement on the Report of the International Court of Justice

Statement by Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, at  General assembly plenary meeting on the Report of the International Court of Justice

27 October 2016


Distinguished delegates,


It is my pleasure to welcome His Excellency Judge Ronny Abraham, President of the International Court of Justice, to the General Assembly.


Before we turn to the Report of the Court, I would like to take this opportunity to make a few remarks about the role of the Court in international relations, and in furthering our goal of the peaceful settlement of international disputes.


In April, the international community celebrated in The Hague the 70-year anniversary of the International Court of Justice – the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, and the tireless custodian of the international legal order.


Over the last seven decades, the success of the Court as an impartial arbiter has been proven time and again, as the confidence of the international community in the Court’s capacity to deliver justice has grown.


More and more States have sought resolution of their disputes through the decisions of the ICJ.


It is clear that the existence of the Court, and its ability to deliver justice for all, has shaped the course of history.


We can ask ourselves how many conflicts, how many fatalities, and how much human suffering, has be avoided due to the availability of the Court to peacefully settle States’ international disputes.


We can reflect as well on how much the rule of law has been strengthened at international levels, because to the authority of the Court’s judgements.


Despite this, it will be impossible to measure how many international, national and sub-national authorities have drawn inspiration from international law, based upon its resolutions and advisory opinions.


What we do know is that the International Court of Justice is an indispensable part of the United Nations system, and the UN’s ability to maintain international peace and security. This landmark anniversary year calls on all of us to reflect on its critical role.


Let us all therefore take this opportunity to reaffirm our steadfast support to the Court and its jurisdiction.


Let me express my appreciation to you, Mr. President for the work of the Court.

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