– As delivered –

Statement by H.E. Mr. Kornelios Korneliou, Permanent Representative of Cyprus and Vice-President of the 73rd Session of the UN General assembly, on behalf of H.E. Mrs. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd Session of the UN General Assembly

25 October 2018


Your Excellency, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President of the International Court of Justice,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First, I would like to congratulate the International Court of Justice on the election of new judges, including the President and Vice-President of the Court.

73-years since its founding, the Court, a hallmark component of the Charter of the United Nations, remains as relevant as ever.

In the face of the headwinds against the multilateral system and global institutions, including direct attacks on their legitimacy, the International Court of Justice stands as testament to the principles of peace and justice in a multilateral world.

Today’s debate builds on fifty years of exchange between the Court and the General Assembly, allowing Member States the opportunity to debate the work of the Court.

This historic exchange is particularly pertinent to the 73rd Session of the General Assembly, which aims to ‘make the UN relevant to all’. The court system serves as a bulwark against arbitrariness and provides the mechanism for peaceful settlement of disputes, guaranteeing the stability so necessary for international cooperation.  For the peoples of the world, the court may be far away but its impact is real.

Excellencies, I am encouraged by the continued and enhanced confidence in the International Court of Justice.

Not only has the Court’s workload increased over the last 20-years but this trend has continued into the period under review, demonstrating unequivocally that there remains a need and desire for a multilateral mechanism to address legal challenges of international concern.

The variety of cases addressed by the court, and the fact that these cases stem from four continents, is also testament to the universality of the Court. In fact, as of today a total of 73 Member States have accepted, as compulsory, the jurisdiction of the Court.

In addition to the Court’s role in advancing multilateralism, its judgements and advisory opinion directly influence the development and strengthening of the rule of law in countries the world over.

As stated by the report: “everything the court does is aimed at promoting and reinforcing the rule of law, through its judgement and advisory opinions, it contributes to developing and clarifying international law.”

Finally, at a time when human rights abuses and conflict devastate the lives of millions, and when tensions simmer in regions throughout the world, the adjudication of disputes between states remains an essential role of the Court in preserving peace and security.

We welcome the continued readiness by the Court to intervene when other diplomatic or political means have proven unsuccessful.

For Member States, respect for the decisions, judgements, advice, and orders of the Court remains critical for the efficacy and longevity of the international Justice System. The General Assembly has thus called upon States that have not yet done so to consider accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with its Statute.

In closing, allow me to reiterate: if we are to preserve the international multilateral system, then adherence and respect for international law remains key.

I thank the Court for sharing the report and wish you a successful debate.

Thank you.