Permanent Mission of Australia
to the United Nations
New York

1 November 2012 - Statement to the United Nations General Assembly Sixth Committee

1 November 2012

Sixth Committee

Report of the International Court of Justice

Statement by Mr Richard Rowe, Senior Legal Adviser, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on behalf of Canada, Australia and New Zealand (CANZ)




Mr President,

On behalf of Canada, New Zealand and my own country, Australia – the CANZ group- I would like to thank the President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Tomka for his informative report on the work of the Court for the period from 1 August 2011 to 31 July 2012.

CANZ continues to strongly support the Court in its role as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The sustained case-load of the Court, covering a diversity of subject matter and geographic circumstance, demonstrates the universal appeal of the International Court of Justice, and the vital role it plays in the promotion of the Rule of Law.

As we review the Court’s work over the reporting period, we see that cases before the Court are increasing in factual and legal complexity, and continue to include issues at the forefront of international justice. We commend the Court for its ongoing efforts to increase its efficiency and sustain its increased workload. In this regard, we welcome President Tomka’s statement to United Nations Member States in September this year that the Court has more than doubled its work rate since 1990. During the period under review, the Court has handed down four judgments, one advisory opinion and three orders and; as President Tomka mentioned, the Court has now successfully cleared its backlog of cases. Nonetheless, we know that the agenda of the Court in the year ahead will remain heavily charged as States continue to affirm their confidence in the Court and its primary role in the peaceful settlement of international disputes.

CANZ also welcomes the increased public accessibility to the work of the Court and the Court’s efforts to ensure the greatest possible public awareness through the Court’s publications, multimedia and website, which now features the full body of the Court’s jurisprudence.

Mr President,

CANZ strongly believes that wider acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court would enable it to fulfil its role more effectively, by permitting the Court to move beyond jurisdictional issues and to the substance of disputes more quickly. Accordingly, we continue to urge Member States that have not done so, to deposit with the Secretary-General a declaration of acceptance of the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Finally, Canada, New Zealand and Australia would like to express their appreciation for Judges Karoma, Simma and Al-Kasawneh’s tremendous contributions to the development of international law through their work as members of the Court and wish them all well in their future endeavours. CANZ also congratulates Judges Bhandari, Gaja and Subtinde on their recent election to the Court.