ICJ report – GA general debate – Verbatim record (excerpts)

Official Records


General Assembly
Sixtieth session
39rd plenary meeting
Thursday, 27 October 2005, 10 a.m.
New York



Mr. Jan Eliasson  ……………………………………………………………………….



    The meeting was called to order at 10.15 a.m.



Agenda item 74



Report of the International Court of Justice



    Report of the International Court of Justice (A/60/4)



    Report of the Secretary-General (A/60/330)


Mr. Liu Zhenmin (China) (spoke in Chinese): …

  The Chinese delegation is pleased to see that, over the past 60 years, the International Court of Justice has disposed of more than 90 cases and handed down close to 100 decisions and judgments in cases covering the delimitation of land and maritime boundaries, territorial sovereignty, the obligation not to use force, the obligation not to interfere in the internal affairs of other States, diplomatic relations, anti-kidnapping, asylum, nationality, the right of passage, and economic rights.

  In addition, the Court has issued 25 advisory opinions ranging from applications for membership in the United Nations, certain operational costs of the United Nations, application of United Nations headquarters agreements, the legality of the use of the threat of the use of nuclear weapons, to the legal consequences of the construction of a separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territories. Through these judicial activities, the Court has facilitated the development of international law.  

 Mr. Park Hee-Kwon (Republic of Korea): …

  The active role taken by the Court during the period under review is in line with its activities in recent years. Last year, the advisory opinion on Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory garnered an unusual amount of media attention. In that case, the Court not only helped the General Assembly to clarify issues in one of the most longstanding and difficult disputes facing the international community, but also demonstrated its will and capability to revitalize its underused advisory function. It is worth recalling that similar procedures were more common under the Permanent Court of International Justice, and proposals to expand the advisory role of the ICJ, as the principal legal organ of the United Nations system, merit further consideration.

  Mr. Abdelaziz (Egypt) (spoke in Arabic ): …

… We believe that the Assembly should use the Court’s advisory opinions to strengthen its capacity to perform its duty in the most perfect manner possible by referring contentious issues to the Court and requesting advisory opinions from it, so that such opinions can be applied, despite the fact that we know that these opinions are advisory in nature and are open to interpretation of binding legal principles that are upheld by international law. They should be taken seriously, particularly the advisory opinion handed down by the Court at the request of the General Assembly on the legal impact of building the separation wall in occupied Palestinian territories. This opinion was a clear, unequivocal interpretation of a major legal principle that we all recognize, which is that it is prohibited to occupy another’s territory by force. This advisory opinion has binding legal value, and the Assembly should pursue its implementation within the competence entrusted to it by the Charter.

 Mr. Mekdad (Syrian Arab Republic) (spoke in Arabic ): …

  We thank the Court for its advisory opinions, which represent the truth. Compliance with the Court’s advisory opinions means compliance with the law, because justice is not an abstract concept. Implementation of legal principles is what matters.

  In that regard, I would like to recall the Court’s advisory opinion on Israel’s construction of the separation wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. The Court decided that the wall’s construction violated international law and that Israel had an obligation to put an end to those violations of international law and compensate Palestinians for the damages incurred by the wall’s construction. The advisory opinion also stressed that all Member States are bound not to recognize the legality of the construction of the wall, and that it was incumbent on Israel to abide by international humanitarian law as recognized under the Fourth Geneva Convention. In spite of the Court’s advisory opinion that stresses the need that the United Nations, including the Security Council, should take measures to end the illegal status resulting from the construction of the wall, it is unfortunate that the Security Council did not exercise its role owing to the practice of selectivity on the part of some of its members and their protection of violations of international law when it serves their own politics and interests.

The meeting rose at 1.10 p.m.




This record contains the text of speeches delivered in English and of the interpretation of speeches delivered in the other languages. Corrections should be submitted to the original languages only. They should be incorporated in a copy of the record and sent under the signature of a member of the delegation concerned to the Chief of the Verbatim Reporting Service, room C-154A. Corrections will be issued after the end of the session in a consolidated corrigendum.

Document symbol: A/60/PV.39
Document Type: Meeting record, Verbatim Record
Document Sources: General Assembly, International Court of Justice (ICJ)
Subject: Agenda Item, Fence, Separation barrier, Wall
Publication Date: 27/10/2005

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