Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Certain Questions concerning Diplomatic Relations (Honduras v. Brazil) Case removed from the Court’s List at the request of Honduras

ICJ On October 28, 2009, the Republic of Honduras filed a case in the International Court of Justice against the Federative Republic of Brazil.

Honduras alleged that Brazil has been housing Mr. Zelaya, President of Honduras until his removal by the military in June 2009, in the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa since September.  Honduras further alleged that Brazil was allowing Zelaya and his followers to use the embassy as a platform to spread political propaganda that threatened the peace in Honduras, at a time when Honduras was preparing for presidential elections.  The application also claimed that the Brazilian embassy staff were allowing Mr. Zelaya to use the embassy premises and resources to evade the jurisdiction of the Brazilian authorities.  Honduras asked the Court to find that Brazil did not have the right to allow the embassy premises to be used by Honduran citizens for illegal activities in violation of Article 2(7) of the U.N. Charter regarding the principle of nonintervention in the domestic affairs of another State and in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.  Honduras reserved the right to ask for provisional measures as well as damages for breach of Brazil's interntional obligations.

We did not think much of this legal challenge against Brazil.  Brazil, for its part, never even responded.

Apparantly Honduras has now concluded that it would not have won its case against Brazil, or perhaps it simply had no further reason to pursue the litigation.

In a letter received by the International Court of Justice on May 3, 2010, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Honduras informed the Court that the Honduran Government was “not going on with the proceedings” against Brazil and that “in so far as necessary, the Honduran Government accordingly [was] withdraw[ing] this Application from the Registry. After noting that the Brazilian Government had not taken any step in the proceedings in the case, the President of the ICJ he recorded the discontinuance by Honduras and ordered that the case be removed from the Court’s list of cases.

It would make for an interesting study to consider how many of the ICJ's cases were filed during an active conflict or crisis and how the countries involved framed their legal positions at the time.


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