16 November 2015

Timor-Leste appreciates the work of the International Court of Justice

ETLJB 16/11/2015 Government of East Timor Press Release Dili 11 November 2015 - On the occasion of the presentation of the Report of the International Court of Justice to the United Nations, Timor-Leste has expressed its appreciation for the work of the Court. The Report was presented to Member States at the United Nations Headquarters, on November 5th. The President of the ICJ, Judge Ronny Abraham, declared that over the last twelve months “the Court has devoted every effort to responding, as speedily as possible, to the expectation of its international subjects.”

This was certainly the experience of Timor-Leste in the case it brought before the ICJ, Timor-Leste v Australia, concerning “Questions relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data.” The Annual Report presented last week summarizes each step of this case beginning with Timor-Leste’s application instituting proceedings on 17 December 2013, through to the awarding of provisional measures on 3 March 2014, the adjournment of the case to seek an amicable settlement on 3 September 2014, the return of the seized document and data on 12 May 2015 and the removal of the case from the Court’s list on 11 June 2015.

It is customary for nations who have instituted proceedings covered by the Report to deliver remarks at the presentation. On behalf of Timor-Leste, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Sofia Borges, thanked the Court for its work, noting the importance of the ICJ for smaller states and reaffirming Timor-Leste’s support for the United Nations and international law. Timor-Leste called for all Member States who have not done so to accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court.

The Ambassador noted “the reliance of small States on the Court to protect their sovereignty shows its ability to resolve international disputes in conformity with the principles of justice and international law,” and said “The multilateral system and international law guides fair behavior and can provide States with options for dispute resolution.”

Spokesperson for the Sixth Constitutional Government, Minister of State Agio Pereira, noted “It is the preference of the Government wherever possible to avoid litigation. However when left with no recourse and compelled to uphold national interest, we instituted proceedings with the International Court of Justice in late 2013. The Court was prompt, respectful, transparent and efficient in all of its dealings with Timor-Leste throughout the carriage of this case through to its conclusion this year, demonstrating well the role the Court plays in the peaceful settlement of Inter-State disputes. Timor-Leste strongly affirms its support for the work of the International Court of Justice and the importance of the multilateral system.”ENDS 

East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin Legal news from East Timor in English
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