Joint Nordic Statement on the report of the International Court of Justice
Joint Nordic Statement on the report of the International Court of Justice, Delivered by Ms. Kaija Suvanto, Director General for Legal Affairs in New York 28 October 2021
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Finland.
Let me first thank President Joan E. Donoghue for the report of the International Court of Justice, covering the period from August 2020 to July 2021. Let me also congratulate the Court on the recent seventy-fifth anniversary of its inaugural sitting.
The Nordic countries attach great importance to the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Court has earned a solid reputation as an impartial institution with the highest legal standards.
During the reporting period under review, the Court has once again experienced a high level of activity with cases of a wide geographical spread concerning a variety of subjects, such as territorial and maritime delimitation, diplomatic missions, human rights, reparation for internationally wrongful acts, interpretation and application of international treaties and conventions, and environmental protection. The large volume and diversity of cases is a testament to the respect the Court enjoys as well as the important role the Court plays in the rules-based multilateral order. The Nordic countries would like to commend the Court for its continued contribution to ensuring the peaceful settlement of disputes. We also recognize that the Court has managed to sustain its work during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has delivered judgments and held public hearings by video link or in hybrid format.
The Nordic countries highly prioritize the engagement of young people, especially young women in the field of international law. We therefore applaud the recent establishment of the Trust Fund for the Judicial Fellowship Programme of the Court. We hope, the Trust Fund will encourage the geographic and linguistic diversity of the participants in the Programme and eventually contribute to a composition of the Court, which is as diverse as the UN membership itself in culture, language and legal tradition.
The United Nations-wide Gender Parity Strategy sets targets for equal representation of women and men, and the Court should be no exception. We would like to use this opportunity to highlight the need to strive for better gender balance also in the Court. As far as the judges are concerned, this requires attention first and foremost at the country level.
The practice of the Court has contributed to the prevention and resolution of international disputes and to the strengthening of the rule of law. While the judgments are only binding upon the parties concerned, the Court’s jurisprudence has far-reaching impacts and has proven to be most useful as guidance in the interpretation of international law.
The submission of a dispute to the Court should not be regarded as an unfriendly act. It is rather an act to fulfil the obligation of all States to settle their disputes peacefully. We urge all States to engage actively and constructively in multilateral rules-based cooperation of which peaceful settlement of disputes and maintenance of international peace and security form integral and crucial parts. We call upon States, that have not yet done so, to consider accepting the jurisdiction of the Court.
The Nordic countries would like to use this opportunity to reaffirm our continuing support to the International Court of Justice.