|I.||Substantive International Law - First Part|
|1.||THE FOUNDATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW|
Land and Maritime Boundary
between Cameroon and Nigeria,
Preliminary Objections, Judgment,
I.C.J. Reports 1998, p. 275
[pp. 296-297] 36. Nigeria's second argument is that Cameroon omitted to inform it that it intended to accept the jurisdiction of the Court, then that it had accepted that jurisdiction and, lastly, that it intended to file an application. Nigeria further argued that Cameroon even continued, during the first three months of 1994, to maintain bilateral contacts with it on boundary questions while preparing itself to address the Court. Such conduct, Nigeria contends, infringes upon the principle of good faith which today plays a larger role in the case-law of the Court than before, and should not be accepted.
37. Cameroon, for its part, argues that it had no obligation to inform
Nigeria in advance of its intentions, or of its decisions. It adds that in any
event "Nigeria was not at all surprised by the filing of Cameroon's
Application and ... knew perfectly well what Cameroon's intentions were in that
regard several weeks before the filing". The principle of good faith was
not at all disregarded.
38. The Court observes that the principle of good faith is a well-established principle of international law. It is set forth in Article 2, paragraph 2, of the Charter of the United Nations; it is also embodied in Article 26 of the Vienna Convention an the Law of Treaties of 23 May 1969. It was mentioned as early as the beginning of this century in the Arbitral Award of 7 September 1910 in the North Atlantic Fisheries case (United Nations, Reports of International Arbitral Awards, Vol. XI, p. 188). It was moreover upheld in several judgments of the Permanent Court of International Justice (Factory at Chorzów, Merits, Judgment No. 13, 1928, P.C.I.J, Series A, No. 17, p. 30; Free Zones of Upper Savoy and the District of Gex, Order of 6 December 1930, P.C.I.J., Series A, No. 24, p. 12, and 1932, P.C.I.J, Series A/B, No. 46, p. 167). Finally, it was applied by this Court as early as 1952 in the case concerning Rights of Nationals of the United States of America in Morocco (Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1952, p. 212), then in the case concerning Fisheries Jurisdiction (Federal Republic of Germany v. Iceland) (Jurisdiction of the Court, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1973, p. 18), the Nuclear Tests cases (I.C.J. Reports 1974, pp. 268 and 473), and the case concerning Border and Transborder Armed Actions (Nicaragua v. Honduras) (Jurisdiction and Admissibility, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1988, p. 105).
39. The Court furthermore notes that although the principle of good faith is "one of the basic principles governing the creation and performance of legal obligations ... it is not in itself a source of obligation where none would otherwise exist" (Border and Transborder Armed Actions (Nicaragua v. Honduras), Jurisdiction and Admissibility, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1988, p. 105, para. 94). There is no specific obligation in international law for States to inform other States parties to the Statute that they intend to subscribe or have subscribed to the Optional Clause. Consequently, Cameroon was not bound to inform Nigeria that it intended to subscribe or had subscribed to the Optional Clause.
"A State accepting the jurisdiction of the Court must expect that an Application may be filed against it before the Court by a new declarant State on the same day on which that State deposits with the Secretary-General its Declaration of Acceptance." (Right of Passage over Indian Territory, Preliminary Objections, Judgment, I.C.J. Reports 1957, p. 146.)
Thus, Cameroon was not bound to inform Nigeria of its intention to bring proceedings before the Court. In the absence of any such obligations and of any infringement of Nigeria's corresponding rights, Nigeria may not justifiably rely upon the principle of good faith in support of its submissions.