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World Court Digest

III. The International Court of Justice
2.1. General Rules

¤ Military and Paramilitary Activities
(Nicaragua/United States of America)
Merits. J. 27.6.1986
I.C.J. Reports 1986, p. 14

[pp. 23-24] The fact that a State purports to "reserve its rights" in respect of a future decision of the Court, after the Court has determined that it has jurisdiction, is clearly of no effect on the validity of that decision. Under Article 36, paragraph 6, of its Statute, the Court has jurisdiction to determine any dispute as to its own jurisdiction, and its judgment on that matter, as on the merits, is final and binding on the parties under Articles 59 and 60 of the Statute (cf. Corfu Channel, Judgment of 15 December 1949, I.C.J. Reports 1949, p. 248).

[p. 28] The Court notes that since the institution of the present proceedings, both bases of jurisdiction have been terminated. On 1 May 1985 the United States gave written notice to the Government of Nicaragua to terminate the Treaty, in accordance with Article XXV, paragraph 3, thereof; that notice expired, and thus terminated the treaty relationship, on 1 May 1986. On 7 October 1985 the United States deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations a notice terminating the declaration under the optional clause, in accordance with the terms of that declaration, and that notice expired on 7 April 1986. These circumstances do not however affect the jurisdiction of the Court under Article 36, paragraph 2, of the Statute, or its jurisdiction under Article XXIV, paragraph 2, of the Treaty to determine "any dispute between the Parties as to the interpretation or application" of the Treaty.

[pp. 176-177 S.O. Ruda] Once the Court has established its competence, a judge is bound to decide on the merits of the case, even if he was in the minority on the question of jurisdiction. Otherwise, in the event that a judge had voted against both sources of

jurisdiction, as has happened in this case, that judge would have no standing for participating in the merits stage, which would be an absurd proposition.