Oral Answers to Questions — International Court of Justice (Judgments)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd May 1955.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Reid Mr Thomas Reid , Swindon 12:00 am, 2nd May 1955

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the fact that the United Nations Organisation Charter often indirectly favours States which disregard judgments against them for breach of international treaties or agreements, while States which abide by the decrees of the International Court are debarred from taking any action except through this Court when they win their cases, he will move to amend the Charter so that no member State of the United Nations Organisation can flout the decree of the Court with impunity.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

Under Article 94 (1) of the United Nations Charter each member State has undertaken to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party. Moreover, Article 94 (2) provides for recourse to the Security Council if measures are needed to give effect to the Court's judgment. It would therefore seem that no amendment to the Charter, in the sense suggested by the hon. Gentleman, is necessary.

Photo of Mr Thomas Reid Mr Thomas Reid , Swindon

Is it not clear that any third-rate State today can "cock a snook" at decisions of the International Court? Must that go on?

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I think that if the hon. Gentleman will refer to my answer he will find that I have made it clear that under Article 94 (2) there is recourse to the Security Council. The difficulty in the case of Albania is, of course, that Albania is not a member of the United Nations and is a country which, as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) said on 1st March, 1951, has a Government … who do not respect the rule of law or the principles of international law as do the Western democracies."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1951; Vol. 484, c. 2513.]

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Would the hon. Gentleman tell us exactly what is the position in regard to this claim at the present time? Does he recall that when he and his right hon. Friends were in opposition they were advocating that very vigorous action be taken on our part to enforce payment of this claim? Will he now admit, now that they are in the Government, that they have been no more successful than we were in that respect, because it is impossible?

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

If I may recall past history, I seem to remember that some of my right hon. Friends advocated that earlier action should have been taken in this matter. I regret to say that it is now three and a half years later. The International Court has given its judgment. At the moment we have not been able to execute that judgment.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Would the hon. Gentleman recall that the vigorous action he and his right hon. Friends advocated was drastic action such as the sending of British warships to that area?

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I remember that the action advocated was earlier action. We said action taken earlier might have obtained satisfaction.