Statement by Joan Prince, Senior Advisor, U.S. Mission to the United Nations at the United Nations at the UN General Assembly plenary - Report of the International Court of Justice

Joan Prince, Senior Advisor
New York, NY
November 6, 2012


 Thank you, Mr. President.

We would like to thank President Tomka for his leadership as President of the International Court of Justice, and for his report last Thursday on its activities, including on the very important cases in which the Court has rendered decisions during the last year.  

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.  The preamble of the Charter underscores the determination of its drafters “to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained.”  This goal lies at the core of the Charter system, and in particular at the role of the Court.   

The General Assembly itself, in its Declaration on the Rule of Law on September 24, underscored the positive contribution of the International Court of Justice, including in adjudicating disputes among States, and the value of its work for the promotion of the rule of law.  In addition, the Security Council, in its Presidential Statement on the rule of law issued earlier this year, similarly emphasized the key role of the Court and the value of the its work.

It is against this backdrop that we can see the real importance of the renewed willingness over the last two decades of states to turn to the ICJ to resolve their disputes peacefully.  As President Tomka has noted, the Court has more than doubled its rate of decisions just since 1990.  This increasing caseload demonstrates the appreciation that States – and the international community more broadly – have for the value of the Court’s work.

And it is against this backdrop that we can see the real importance of the fact that, under President Tomka’s leadership, the Court has been able to clear its backlog of cases, and of the effort by the Court to ensure that States, as soon as they complete their written exchanges, will be able to move promptly to the oral stage.  Such efforts contribute immeasurably to the confidence states can have in bringing cases to the Court and, in turn, to the ability of the Court to fulfill its mandate in helping to ensure the peaceful resolution of disputes.  

For its part, the United States applauds such efforts.  It takes this opportunity to express its pleasure with the successes of the Court in fulfilling its key role in the UN system, together with the other Charter organs, in the peaceful resolution of disputes between States, and is pleased to add its voice to the many today in the emphasis it places on the success of the Court’s work.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2012/247