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World Court Digest

III. The International Court of Justice
3.7. Evidence

¤ Elettronica Sicula S.p.A. (ELSI)
Judgment of 20 July 1989
I.C.J. Reports 1989, p. 15

[pp. 46-47] With such a deal of litigation in the municipal courts about what is in substance the claim now before the Chamber, it was for Italy to demonstrate that there was nevertheless some local remedy that had not been tried; or at least, not exhausted. This burden Italy never sought to deny.

[p. 47] Where the determination of a question of municipal law is essential to the Court's decision in a case, the Court will have to weigh the jurisprudence of the municipal courts, and "If this is uncertain or divided, it will rest with the Court to select the interpretation which it considers most in conformity with the law" (Brazilian Loans, P.C.I.J., Series A, Nos. 20/21, p. 124). In the present case, however, it was for Italy to show, as a matter of fact, the existence of a remedy which was open to the United States stockholders and which they failed to employ. The Chamber does not consider that Italy has discharged that burden.

[p. 62] The Chamber has no need to go into the question of the extent to which it could or should question the validity of a finding of Italian law, the law governing the matter, by the appropriate Italian courts. It is sufficient to note that the conclusion above, that the feasibility of an orderly liquidation plan is not sufficiently established, is reinforced by reference to the decision of the courts of Palermo on the claim by the trustee in bankruptcy for damages for the injury caused by the requisition. Whether regarded as findings of Italian law or as findings of fact, the decisions of the courts of Palermo simply constitute additional evidence of the situation which the Chamber has to assess.