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Cameroon v. Nigeria (No. 2)

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

YEAR 2002

2002

10  October

General List

No. 94

10 October  2002

CASE CONCERNING THE LAND AND MARITIME BOUNDARY

BETWEEN

CAMEROON AND NIGERIA

(CAMEROON            vs. NIGERIA:             EQUATORIAL          GUINEA INTERVENING)

BOUNDARIES - Dispute concerning land and maritime boundary touching Bakassi Peninsula and Lake Chad between Cameroon and Nigeria Historical characterisation of

BOUNDARIES - Lake Chad Basin Commission - Origin, purpose and functions

BOUNDARIES - Lake Chad Basin Commission - Proposals of as regards the tripoint and the mouth of Ebeji - Whether constitute an authoritative interpretation by the Exchange of Letters of 9 January

1931

BOUNDARIES -  Maritime boundary beyond point G - Consideration of

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Agreements which were concluded by Germany, France and Great Britain to delimit boundaries of their respective colonial territories - Review of

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Anglo-German Agreement of 11 March 1913 Whether defective because German parliament did not approve it

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Anglo-German Agreement of 11 March, 1913 Articles XVIII to XXII thereof - Whether Nigeria accepted that it was bound by the Agreement

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Anglo-German Agreement of 11 March, 1913 Whether valid and applicable in its entirety

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Bakassi - Whether Great Britain entitled to pass title to Bakassi through Anglo-German Agreement of 11 March 1913

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Bakassi Peninsula - Question of sovereignty over -  Issue of boundary in Bakassi

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Bakassi Peninsula - Whether Nigeria recognised Cameroonian sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Colonial agreements and instruments on boundary delimitation between Nigeria and Cameroon: FrancoBritish Convention of 1906, Franco-British Protocol of 1910, Franco-German Convention signed in Berlin on 15 March, 1894, Franco-German Convention confirming protocol of 9 April, 1908, Anglo-German Agreement of 12 April, 1913, Franco-British Declaration signed on 10 July, 1919 (Milner-Simon declaration), Thomson-Marchand Declaration, 1929 and 1930, HendersonFlueriau Exchange of Notes, 1946 Order-in-Council, General

Assembly Resolutions 1350, XIII of 13 March 1959 and 1608 XV of 21  April,  1961

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Dispute concerning land and maritime boundary touching Bakassi Peninsula and Lake Chad between Cameroon and Nigeria - Historical characterisation of

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Frontier from Lake Chad to the sea in the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria - Whether International Court of Justice could specify definitively

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Historical consolidation theory - Meaning and application of - Whether claim of sovereignty based thereon by Nigeria can be upheld

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Lake Chad - Claim of sovereignty over certain areas of on the basis of effective administration and manifestations of sovereignty by Nigeria - Consideration of

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Lake Chad Basin Commission - Origin, purpose and functions

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Lake Chad Basin Commission - Proposals of as regards the tripoint and the mouth of Ebeji - Whether constitute an authoritative interpretation by the Exchange of Letters of 9 January 1931

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Maritime boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria - Consideration of

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Maritime boundary between two states Delimitation of - When can be carried out where interest of third states will be affected

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Maritime boundary beyond point G -

Consideration of

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Maroua and Yaounde II Declarations -

Bindingness and validity of - Whether non-compliance with Nigeria’s constitutional rules affects - Vienna Convention, Articles 7, para. 2; 46 , paras. 1 and  2

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Maroua Declaration - Whether valid under international law on account of its being signed but not ratified

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Milner-Simon Declaration of 1991 and the subsequent instruments which bear on delimitation in Lake Chad area - Whether established a frontier that is binding on the parties

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Nigeria’s and Cameroon’s state responsibility in Lake Chad area and Bakassi Peninsula

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Southern sector of the boundary as defined by the Anglo-German agreement of 11 March, 1913 - Treatment of in the period  1913 to 1960

INTERNATIONAL LAW - Treaty of Versailles - Article 289 thereof - Legal effect thereof on the Agreement of 11 March, 1913

Issues:

1.            Whether sovereignty over the Peninsula of Bakassi is vested in Cameroon or Nigeria.

2.            Whether sovereignty over the areas in Lake Chad including the Nigerian settlements thereat is vested in the Nigeria.

3.            Whether Nigeria has violated and is violating the fundamental principle of respect for frontiers inherited from colonization (uti possidetis juris)

4.            Whether the actual course of the boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria can be definitively specified by reference to these instruments, to wit: paragraphs 3-60 of the Thomson/ Marchand Declaration, confirmed in the Exchange of Letters of 9 January 1931; the Nigeria (Protectorate and Cameroons) Order in Council of 2 August 1946, section 6(1) and second schedule thereto; paragraphs 13-21 of the Anglo-German Demarcation Agreement of 12 April 1913; Articles XV-XVII of the Anglo-German Treaty of 11 March 1913.

Facts:

By its application dated 29 March, 1994, Cameroon instituted proceedings against Nigeria in respect of a dispute described as relating to the question of sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula. Cameroon maintained in its application that the delimitation (of the maritime boundary between the two states) has remained a partial one and that despite many attempts to complete it, the two parties have been unable to do so. Cameroon thus invites the Court “in order to avoid further incidents between the two countries, to determine the course of the maritime boundary between the two states beyond the line fixed in 1975”. The application relied on the declarations made by the two parties accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in order to found jurisdiction of the Court.

Furthermore, Cameroon on 6 June, 1994 filed in the Registry an additional application for the purpose of extending the subject of the dispute to a further dispute as relating essentially to the question of sovereignty over a part of the territory of Cameroon in the area of Lake Chad. Cameroon requested the Court “to specify definitively” the frontier between the two states from Lake Chad to the sea

Time-limits were subsequently fixed for the filing of Memorial of Cameroon and the Counter-Memorial of Nigeria. Cameroon filed its Memorial. But Nigeria filed preliminary objections (which consisted of eight grounds which are identified in the issues for determination) to the jurisdiction of the Court and the admissibility of the Application.

Nigeria’s preliminary objections were heard and rejected. In its judgment of 11 June 1998, the Court found that it had jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the merits of the dispute and that Cameroon’s requests were admissible.

Nigeria’s subsequent request of 28 June 1998 for interpretation of

the judgment of June 11 1988 on the preliminary objections was heard and on 25 March 1999, the Court decided that Nigeria’s request was inadmissible.

On 16 November, 1998, Equitorial Guinea requested a copy of Cameroon’s Memorial and of the maps produced to the Court by the parties at the oral proceedings on the preliminary objections. The documents in question were transmitted to Equitorial Guinea on 8 December 1998.

Nigeria duly filed its Counter-Memorial together with counter-claims. Cameroon filed a Reply and Nigeria filed a Rejoinder.

On 30th June 1999, Equitorial Guinea filed an application for permission to intervene in the case pursuant to Article 62 of the Statute. The object of the application was stated to be to “protect the legal rights of the Republic of Equitorial Guinea in the Gulf of Guinea by all legal means available” and to “inform the Court of the nature of the legal rights and interests of Equitorial Guinea that could be affected by the Court’s decision in the light of the maritime boundary claims advanced by the parties to the case before the Court”. Equitorial Guinea did “not seek to become a party to the case”.

Neither Cameroon nor Nigeria objected in principle to the intervention. The written statement of Equitorial Guinea and the written observations of the Parties were then duly filed.

Public hearings were held on 18 February to 21 March 2002 at which the Court heard oral arguments of the Parties and Equitorial Guinea.

At the end of the written statement submitted by it in accordance with Article 85, paragraph 1, of the Rules of Court, Equitorial Guinea stated inter alia:

“Equatorial Guinea’s request is simple and straightfoward, founded in the jurisprudence of the court, makes good sense in the practice of the international community and is consistent with the practice of the three States in the region concerned: its request is that the court refrain from delimiting a maritime boundary between Nigeria and Cameroon in any area that is more proximate to Equatorial Guinea than to the parties to the case before the court.  Equatorial Guinea believes it has presented a number of good reasons for the court to adopt this position.”

Equitorial Guinea further stated with respect to the subject-matter of the intervention in accordance with Article 85, paragraph 3 of the Rules of Court thus:

“[W]e ask the court not to delimit a maritime boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria in areas lying closer to Equatorial Guinea than to the coasts of the two parties or to express any opinion which could prejudice our interests in the context of our maritime boundary negotiations with our neighbours ... Safeguarding the interests of the third state in these proceedings means that the delimitation between Nigeria and Cameroon decided by the court must necessarily remain to the north of the median line between Equatorial Guinea’s

Bioko Island and the mainland.”

On 10 October 2002, the Court handed down its judgment.