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World Court Digest

III. The International Court of Justice
2.3. The Optional Clause
2.3.5. Reciprocity

¤ Legality of Use of Force
(Yugoslavia v. Spain)
Request for the Indication of
Provisional Measures
Order of 2 June 1999

[p. ] 23. Whereas Spain contends that the Courts jurisdiction cannot be founded upon Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute of the Court in this case, in view of the reservations contained in its declaration; whereas it observes in particular that, under the terms of paragraph 1 (c) of that declaration, it does not recognize the jurisdiction of the Court in respect of

"(c) disputes in regard to which the other party or parties have accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court less than 12 months prior to the filing of the application bringing the dispute before the Court";

whereas Spain argues that "this limitation is both specific and unequivocal and should not be a matter for either interpretation or doubt" and that "the intention of Spain in formulating its declaration could not have been clearer"; and whereas it points out that 12 months have manifestly not elapsed between the date on which Yugoslavia accepted the jurisdiction of the Court and that on which it filed its Application;

24. Whereas Yugoslavia submitted no argument on this point;

25. Whereas, given that Yugoslavia deposited its declaration of acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court with the Secretary-General on 26 April 1999 and filed its Application instituting proceedings with the Court on 29 April 1999, there can be no doubt that the conditions for the exclusion of the Court's jurisdiction provided for in paragraph 1 (c) of Spain's declaration are satisfied in this case; whereas, as the Court recalled in its Judgment of 4 December 1998 in the Fisheries Jurisdiction (Spain v. Canada) case,

"It is for each State, in formulating its declaration, to decide upon the limits it places upon its acceptance of the jurisdiction of the Court: '[t]his jurisdiction only exists within the limits within which it has been accepted' (Phosphates in Morocco, Judgment, 1938, P.C.I.J., Series A/B No. 74, p. 23)" (I.C.J. Reports 1998,

para. 44);

and whereas, as the Court noted in its Judgment of 11 June 1998 in the case concerning the Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon v. Nigeria), "[a]s early as 1952, it held in the case concerning Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. that ... 'jurisdiction is conferred on the Court only to the extent to which the [declarations made] coincide in conferring it' (I.C.J. Reports 1952, p. 103)" (I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 298, para. 43); and whereas the declarations made by the Parties under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute manifestly cannot constitute a basis of jurisdiction in the present case, even prima facie;1

1See mutatis mutandis Order of 2 June 1999, Legality of Use of Force, Yugoslavia v. United Kingdom (§§ 23-25)