North sea continental shelf cases

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Name of the decision/year North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (Federal Republic of Germany v. Denmark And the Federal Republic of Germany v. the Netherlands) /1969
Relevant Facts of the case
• The waters of the North Sea were shallow the whole, except for the Norwegian Trough, consisting of continental shelf at a depth of less than 200 meters.
• 1964 Agreement between the Federal Republic ofGermany and the Netherlands determining the boundaries in the immediate vicinity to the coast.
• 1965 Agreement between the Federal Republic of Germany and Denmark determining the boundaries in the immediate vicinity to the coast.
• 1966 The Governments of Denmark and the Netherlands had, by means of an agreement proceeded to a delimitation between themselves of the continental shelf areas.
•1967 Feb. Special Agreements for the submission to the Court of the differences between Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany and the Netherlands and Federal Republic of Germany concerning the delimitation of the continental shelf in the North Sea; And a Protocol among the three concerning procedural issues with respect the two agreements
Applications were filed at the ICJ
• 1968 Apr. Thecourt joined the proceedings in the two cases.
ICJ’s source of jurisdiction Special Agreements for submitting the differences between the parts to the ICJ. Art. 36 par.1 ICJ’s Statute
Requests On behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany,
"1. The delimitation of the continental shelf between the Parties in the North Sea is governed by the principle that each coastal State isentitled to a just and equitable share.
2. (a) The equidistance method is not a rule of customary international law.
(b) The rule contained in the second sentence of paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the Continental Shelf Convention, prescribing that in the absence of agreement, and unless special circumstances, the boundary shall be determined by application of the principle of equidistance, has notbecome customary international law.
(c) Even if the rule under (b) would be applicable between the Parties, special circumstances within the meaning of that rule would exclude the application of the equidistance method in the present case.
3. (a) The equidistance method cannot be used for the delimitation of the continental shelf unless it is established by agreement, arbitration, or otherwise,that it will achieve a just and equitable apportionment of the continental shelf among the States concerned.
(b) As to the delimitation of the continental shelf between the Parties in the North Sea, the Kingdom of Denmark and the Kingdom of the Netherlands cannot rely on the application of the equidistance method, since it would not lead to an equitable apportionment.

The Government of TheNetherlands and The Government of Denmark,
Ask the Court to adjudge and declare:
1. The delimitation as between the Parties of the continental shelf in the North Sea is governed by the principles and rules of international law which are expressed in Article 6, paragraph 2, of the Geneva Convention of 1958 on the Continental Shelf.
2. The Parties being in disagreement, unless another boundary isjustified by special circumstances, the boundary between them is to be determined by application of the principle of equidistance from the nearest points of the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of each State is measured.
3. If special circumstances are accepted, the boundary between the Parties is to be determined by application of the principle of equidistance.
4. If theprinciples and rules of international law mentioned in Submission 1 are not applicable as between the Parties, the boundary is to be determined between the Parties on the basis of the exclusive rights of each Party over the continental shelf adjacent to its coast and of the principle that the boundary is to leave to each Party every point of the continental shelf which lies nearer to its coast than...
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