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World Court Digest

III. The International Court of Justice
3.10. Provisional Measures
3.10.1. General Questions

¤ Frontier Dispute, (Burkina Faso/Republic of Mali),
Provisional Measures, Order of 10 January 1986
I.C.J. Reports 1986, p. 3

[pp. 9-10] Considering that, independently of the requests submitted by the Parties for the indication of provisional measures, the Court or, accordingly, the Chamber possesses by virtue of Article 41 of the Statute the power to indicate provisional measures with a view to preventing the aggravation or extension of the dispute whenever it considers that circumstances so require;
Whereas, in particular, when two States jointly decide to have recourse to a Chamber of the Court, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, with a view to the peaceful settlement of a dispute, in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 3, and Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations, and incidents subsequently occur which not merely are likely to extend or aggravate the dispute but comprise a resort to force which is irreconcilable with the principle of the peaceful settlement of international disputes, there can be no doubt of the Chamber's power and duty to indicate, if need be, such provisional measures as may conduce to the due administration of justice;
Whereas furthermore, according to the indications furnished by one of the Parties, armed actions within the territory in dispute could result in the destruction of evidence material to the Chamber's eventual decision;
Whereas the facts that have given rise to the requests of both Parties for the indication of provisional measures expose the persons and property in the disputed area, as well as the interests of both States within that area, to serious risk of irreparable damage; and whereas the circumstances consequently demand that the Chamber should indicate appropriate provisional measures in accordance with Article 41 of the Statute.

[p. 10] Whereas States remain at liberty to negotiate or resolve particular aspects of a dispute brought before the Court ; whereas their freedom to do so is not incompatible with the Court's exercise of its own functions ; and whereas the fact that the two Parties have entrusted another body with the task of defining the terms of the troop withdrawal in no way deprives the Chamber of the rights and duties pertaining to it in the case brought before it;
Whereas the Chamber, while welcoming the fact that the Parties have been able to reach agreement on a ceasefire, and have thus brought to an end the armed actions which gave rise to the requests for the indication of provisional measures, is nonetheless faced with its duty under Article 41 of the Statute to ascertain for itself what provisional measures ought to be taken to preserve the respective rights of either Party;