Summaries of the Decisions
Case Concerning the Arbitral Award of 31 July 1989
(Guinea-Bissau v. Senegal) Order of 2 March 1990
In 1960 France and Portugal concluded an Agreement for the purpose of
defining the maritime boundary between Senegal - at that time an autonomous
State within the Communauté - and the Portuguese Province of Guinea.
After the accession to independance of Senegal and Guinea-Bissau a dispute arose
between the two States concerning the delimitation of their maritime
territories. The two States submitted this dispute to an Arbitration Tribunal
which had to decide on the following questions:
1) whether the Agreement of 1960 had the force of law between the Parties;
2) in the event of a negative answer, to define the course of the line
delimiting the maritime territories of the two States.
By its decision of 31 July 1989 the Arbitration Tribunal stated that the
Agreement of 1960 had force of law in relation to the Parties.
Interim measures of Protection,
Order of 2 March 1990
By a request of 23 August 1989 Guinea-Bissau had instituted proceedings
against Senegal concerning the existence and validity of the arbitral award of
31 July 1989. The main reason advanced by Guinea-Bissau was the fact that one of
the two arbitrators making up the appearance of a majority in favour of the text
of the award had, by a declaration appended to it, expressed a view in
contradition with the one apparently adopted by the vote.
On 18 January 1990, Guinea-Bissau, on the ground of actions stated to have
been taken by Senegal in a maritime area which Guinea-Bissau regarded as an area
disputed between the Parties, requested the Court to indicate the following
"In order to safeguard the rights of each of the Parties, they shall
abstain in the disputed area from any act or action of any kind whatever during
the whole duration of the proceedings until the decision given by the Court."
By fourteen votes to one the Court dismissed the request for the reason that
the subject matter of the request for provisional measures was not the same as
that of the proceedings before the Court on the merits of the case. By the
provisional measures Guinea-Bissau sought to protect the respective rights of
the Parties in the maritime areas in question while the Application asked the
Court to declare the 1989 award to be inexistent or, subsidiarily, null and void
and thus inapplicable. Thus, the requested measures could not be subsumed under
the Court's judgment on the merits as is required by Article 41 of the Statute
of the Court. Moreover, as the decision of the Court on the merits stating the
invalidity of the award would not entail any decision as to the Applicant's
claim in respect of the disputed maritime delimination, the necessary link
between the subject matter of the request for interim measures and the request
on the merits was lacking.
While the proceedings on the merits were still pending before the Court,
Guinea-Bissau brought a new claim against Senegal on 12 March 1991 concerning
the delimination of the maritime territories between the two States.