Status on why has South Africa made a declaration under Article 36(2) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice with reference reply to question 1210 on June 2013.

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

 FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION NO: 1584 (NW1930E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 22-2013 OF 21 JUNE 2013

MR A WATSON (DA) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

With reference to the reply of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to question 1210 on 11 June 2013, why has South Africa not made a declaration under Article 36(2) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice?

REPLY:

Article 36(2) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice provides that states parties to the Statute may at any time declare that they recognise the jurisdiction of the Court as compulsory in relation to any other state that has also made such a declaration accepting compulsory jurisdiction, in all legal disputes concerning
(a)     the interpretation of a treaty;
(b)     any question of international law;
(b)     the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation; and
(d)     the nature and extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation. 

In the absence of the acceptance of compulsory jurisdiction by one or both states to a dispute, such states must by means of an agreement between them accept the jurisdiction of the Court and then formulate the legal question(s) for the Court to deliberate on. 

One of the principles of South African foreign policy is the promotion of the international rule of law. As a member state of the United Nations, South Africa is also a party to the Statute of the International Court of Justice and has always supported the work of the Court and the peaceful settlement of disputes between states. South Africa has not accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court as it is of the view that states should first attempt to settle disputes with other states by means of negotiation, and only once such attempts are exhausted, should the parties to the dispute resort to judicial settlement mechanisms. 

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