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The Law of the Sea Related Cases in the International Court of Justice during the Presidency of Judge Stephen M. Schwebel (1997-2000)

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image of The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law

This article explores the unique role of the ICJ as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations in the development of the law of the sea as part of the global system of peace and security, during the Presidency of Judge Stephen M. Schwebel (United States) in the busiest triennium in the Court's history (1997-2000). The new style of governance brought by President Schwebel to the Court is appraised against the background of an "intrinsic" authority and paramount functions performed by the ICJ as the world's most senior international court and the only truly universal judicial body of general jurisdiction, as well as that of the continuously inter-active influence of the Court and the International Law Commission. The article surveys the law-of-the-sea-related cases of the Court in the context of an ongoing follow-up to the Overall Review and Appraisal of the UNCED Agenda 21 in the critical areas of environmental protection, international fisheries and navigation, equitable maritime delimitation and territorial questions, and international institutions. The inaugural practice of ITLOS and the awards of the two Arbitral Tribunals, of which President Schwebel was a member, are taken into due account. The article concludes that the Court will undoubtedly continue to further explore its unique role, as importantly reinforced in the triennium 1997-2000, in the years to come.

Affiliations: 1: Institute for the Law of the Sea, Faculty of Law, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


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