Concluding Remarks by Rosalyn Higgins

By Higgins, Rosalyn | Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law, Annual 2012 | Go to article overview

Concluding Remarks by Rosalyn Higgins


Higgins, Rosalyn, Proceedings of the Annual Meeting-American Society of International Law


Bruno Simma mentioned briefly standard of proof in the ICJ. The Court has not been very good in facing that issue. The Court has set its face against setting a standard of proof of facts which it will determine in any given case. This is because many of the civil-law judges believe that there can be nothing objective about this matter, and that it is simply a question of the intime conviction du juge.

One has only to look at the Oil Platforms case to see, in my opinion, that the lack of any objective standard means that different judges can look at the very same set of facts and reach diametrically opposite conclusions as to what the evidence shows.

What the Court does do, and I think does very well, is to explain in particular cases what evidence it has found unreliable, and why, and what evidence--including findings of fact by others--it deems very weighty. There is much of interest in Court practice on that.

I think you have heard some first-rate presentations by some very knowledgeable people on a wide range of issues, and we all hope you have enjoyed this session.

(1) Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission, Rules of Procedure, art. 14(1) (Oct. 200l), available at http://www.pca cpa.org.

(2) Id. art. 14(4).

(3) Central Front, Ethiopia's Claim 2, Partial Award, para. 112 (Apr. 28, 2004), 43 I.L.M. 1275 (2004).

(4) Prisoners of War, Eritrea's Claim No. 17, Partial Award, para. 44 (July 1, 2003), 42 I.L.M. 1083 (2003).

(5) Id. para 46; see Ethiopia's Central Front Claim, supra note 3, para. 20.

(6) See, e.g., Prisoners of War, Ethiopia's Claim No. 4, Partial Award, para. 38 (July 1, 2003), 42 I.L.M. 1056 (2003).

(7) Id.

(8) Algiers Agreement, Eth.-Eri., art. 5(12), Dec. 12, 2000, 2138 U.N.T.S. 94, 40 I.L.M. 260 (2001). The Commission's work ultimately lasted about eight years.

(9) Ethiopia's POW Claim, supra note 6, para 54; Western Front, Aerial Bombardment and Related Claims, Eritrea's Claims 1, 3, 5, 9-13, 14, 21, 25 & 26, Partial Award, para. 91 (Dec. 19, 2005), 45 I.L.M. 396 (2006).

(10) Ethiopia's POW Claim, supra note 6, para. 54.

(11) Id.

(12) Ethiopia's Central Front Claim, supra note 3, para. 37; Civilians Claims, Ethiopia's Claim 5, Partial Award, para. 85 (Dec. 17, 2004), 40 I.L.M. 430 (2005).

(13) Id.

(14) Rules of Procedure, supra note 1, art. 14(2).

(15) Ethiopia's POW Claim, supra note 6, para. 44.

(16) Eritrea's POW Claim, supra note 4, para. …

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