STATUTE OF THE PERMANENT COURT of
(amended by the Protocol of Sept. 14, 1929.
A Permanent Court of International Justice is hereby established, in accordance with Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. This Court shall be in addition to the Court of Arbitration organized by the Conventions of The Hague of 1899 and 1907, and to the special Tribunals of Arbitration to which States are always at liberty to submit their disputes for settlement.
The Permanent Court of International Justice shall be composed of a body of independent judges, elected regardless of their nationality from amongst persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law.
The Court shall consist of fifteen members.
The members of the Court shall be elected by the Assembly and by the Council from a list of persons nominated by the national groups in the Court of Arbitration, in accordance with the following provisions.
In the case of Members of the League of Nations not represented in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the lists of candidates shall be drawn up by national groups appointed for this purpose by their governments under the same conditions as those prescribed for members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration by Article 44 of the Convention of The Hague of 1907 for the pacific settlement of international disputes.
The conditions under which a State which has accepted the Statute of the Court but is not a Member of the League of Nations, may participate in electing the members of the Court shall, in the absence of a special agreement, be laid down by the Assembly on the proposal of the Council.
At least three months before the date of the election, the Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall address a written request to the members of the Court of Arbitration belonging to the States mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant or to the States which join the League subsequently, and to the persons appointed under paragraph 2 of Article 4, inviting them to undertake, within a given time, by national groups, the nomination of persons in a position to accept the duties of a member of the Court.
No group may nominate more than four persons, not more than two of whom shall be of their own nationality. In no case must the number of candidates nominated be more than double the number of seats to be filled.
Before making these nominations, each national group is recommended to consult its Highest Court of Justice, its Legal Faculties and Schools of Law, and its National Academies and national sections of International Academies devoted to the study of Law.
The Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of all the persons thus nominated. Save as provided in Article 12, paragraph 2, these shall be the only persons eligible for appointment.
The Secretary-General shall submit this list to the Assembly and to the Council.
The Assembly and the Council shall proceed independently of one another to elect the members of the Court.
At every election, the electors shall bear in mind that not only should all the persons appointed as members of the Court possess the qualifications required, but the whole body also should represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.
Those candidates who obtain an absolute majority of votes in the Assembly and in the Council shall be considered as elected.
In the event of more than one national of the same Member of the League being elected by the votes of both the Assembly and the Council, the eldest of these only shall be considered as elected.
If, after the first meeting held for the purpose of the election, one or more seats remain to be filled, a second and, if necessary, a third meeting shall take place.
If, after the third meeting, one or more seats still remain unfilled, a joint conference consisting of six members, three appointed by the Assembly and three by the Council, may be formed, at any time, at the request of either the Assembly or the Council, for the purpose of choosing one name for each seat still vacant, to submit to the Assembly and the Council for their respective acceptance.
If the Conference is unanimously agreed upon any person who fulfills the required conditions, he may be included in its list, even though he was not included in the list of nominations referred to in Articles 4 and 5. If the joint conference is satisfied that it will not be successful in procuring an election, those members of the Court who have already been appointed shall, within a period to be fixed by the Council, proceed to fill the vacant seats by selection from amongst those candidates who have obtained votes either in the Assembly or in the Council.
In the event of an equality of votes amongst the judges, the eldest judge shall have a casting vote.
The members of the Court shall be elected for nine years;
They may be re-elected.
They shall continue to discharge their duties until their places have been filled. Though replaced, they shall finish any cases which they may have begun.
In the case of the resignation of a member of the Court, the resignation will be addressed to the President of the Court for transmission to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
This last notification makes the place vacant.
Vacancies which may occur shall be filled by the same method as that laid down for the first election, subject to the following provision: the Secretary-General of the League of Nations shall, within one month of the occurrence of the vacancy, proceed to issue the invitations provided for in Article 5, and the date of the election shall be fixed by the Council at its next session.
A member of the Court elected to replace a member whose period of appointment has not expired, will hold the appointment for the remainder of his predecessor's term.
The members of the Court may not exercise any political or administrative function, nor engage in any other occupation of a professional nature.
Any doubt on this point is settled by the decision of the Court.
No member of the Court may act as agent, counsel or advocate in any case.
No member may participate in the decision of any case in which he has previously taken an active part as agent, counsel or advocate for one of the contesting parties, or as a member of a national or international Court, or of a commission of enquiry, or in any other capacity.
Any doubt on this point is settled by the decision of the Court.
A member of the Court cannot be dismissed unless, in the unanimous opinion of the other members, he has ceased to fulfil the required conditions.
Formal notification thereof shall be made to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations, by the Registrar.
This notification makes the place vacant.
The members of the Court, when engaged on the business of the Court, shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.
Every member of the Court shall, before taking up his duties, make a solemn declaration in open Court that he will exercise his powers impartially and conscientiously.
The Court shall elect its President and Vice-President for three years; they may be re-elected.
It shall appoint its Registrar.
The duties of Registrar of the Court shall not be deemed incompatible with those of Secretary-General of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The seat of the Court shall be established at The Hague.
The President and Registrar shall reside at the seat of the Court.
The Court shall remain permanently in session except during the judicial vacations, the dates and duration of which shall be fixed by the Court.
Members of the Court whose homes are situated at more than five days' normal journey from The Hague shall be entitled, apart from the judicial vacations, to six months' leave every three years, not including the time spent in travelling.
Members of the Court shall be bound, unless they are on regular leave or prevented from attending by illness or other serious reason duly explained to the President, to hold themselves permanently at the disposal of the Court.
If, for some special reason, a member of the Court considers that he should not take part in the decision of a particular case, he shall so inform the President.
If the President considers that for some special reason one of the members of the Court should not sit on a particular case, he shall give him notice accordingly.
If in any such case the member of the Court and the President disagree, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the Court.
The full Court shall sit except when it is expressly provided otherwise.
Subject to the condition that the number of judges available to constitute the Court is not thereby reduced below eleven, the Rules of Court may provide for allowing one or more judges, according to circumstances and in rotation, to be dispensed from sitting.
Provided always that a quorum of nine judges shall suffice to constitute the Court.
Labour cases, particularly cases referred to in Part XIII (Labour) of the Treaty of Versailles and the corresponding portions of the other treaties of peace, shall be heard and determined by the Court under the following conditions:
The Court will appoint every three years a special Chamber of five judges, selected so far as possible with due regard to the provisions of Article 9. In addition, two judges shall be selected for the purpose of replacing a judge who finds it impossible to sit. If the parties so demand, cases will be heard and determined by this Chamber. In the absence of any such demand, the full Court will sit. In both cases, the judges will be assisted by four technical assessors sitting with them, but without the right to vote, and chosen with a view to ensuring a just representation of the competing interests.
The technical assessors shall be chosen for each particular case in accordance with rules of procedure under Article 30 from a list of "Assessors for Labour Cases" composed of two persons nominated by each Member of the League of Nations and an equivalent number nominated by the Governing Body of the Labour Office. The Governing Body will nominate, as to one-half, representatives of the workers, and, as to one-half, representatives of employers from the list referred to in Article 412 of the Treaty of Versailles and the corresponding articles of the other treaties of peace.
Recourse may always be had to the summary procedure provided for in Article 29, in the cases referred to in the first paragraph of the present Article, if the parties so request.
In Labour cases, the International Office shall be at liberty to furnish the Court with all relevant information, and for this purpose the Director of that Office shall receive copies of all the written proceedings.
Cases relating to transit and communications, particularly cases referred to in Part XII (Ports, Waterways and Railways) of the Treaty of Versailles and the corresponding portions of the other treaties of peace, shall be heard and determined by the Court under the following conditions:
The Court will appoint every three years a special Chamber of five judges, selected so far as possible with due regard to the provisions of Article 9. In addition, two judges shall be selected for the purpose of replacing a judge who finds it impossible to sit. If the parties so demand, cases will be heard and determined by this Chamber. In the absence of any such demand, the full Court will sit. When desired by the parties or decided by the Court, the judges will be assisted by four technical assessors sitting with them, but without the right to vote.
The technical assessors shall be chosen for each particular case in accordance with rules of procedure under Article 30 from a list of "Assessors for Transit and Communications Cases" composed of two persons nominated by each Member of the League of Nations.
Recourse may always be had to the summary procedure provided for in Article 29, in the cases referred to in the first paragraph of the present Article, if the parties so request.
The special chambers provided for in Articles 26 and 27 may, with the consent of the parties to the dispute, sit elsewhere than at The Hague.
With a view to the speedy despatch of business, the Court shall form annually a Chamber composed of five judges who, at the request of the contesting parties, may hear and determine cases by summary procedure. In addition, two judges shall be selected for the purpose of replacing a judge who finds it impossible to sit.
The Court shall frame rules for regulating its procedure. In particular, it shall lay down rules for summary procedure.
Judges of the nationality of each of the contesting parties shall retain their right to sit in the case before the Court.
If the Court includes upon the Bench a judge of the nationality of one of the parties, the other party may choose a person to sit as judge. Such person shall be chosen preferably from among those persons who have been nominated as candidates as provided in Articles 4 and 5.
If the Court includes upon the Bench no judge of the nationality of the contesting parties, each of these parties may proceed to select a judge as provided in the preceding paragraph.
The present provision shall apply to the case of Articles 26, 27 and 29. In such cases, the President shall request one or, if necessary, two of the members of the Court forming the Chamber to give place to the members of the Court of the nationality of the parties concerned, and, failing such or if they are unable to be present, to the judges specially appointed by the parties.
Should there be several parties in the same interest, they shall, for the purpose of the preceding provisions, be reckoned as one party only. Any doubt upon this point is settled by the decision of the Court.
Judges selected as laid down in paragraphs 2, 3 and 4 of this Article shall fulfil the conditions required by Articles 2, 17 (paragraph 2), 20 and 24 of this Statute. They shall take part in the decision on terms of complete equality with their colleagues.
The members of the Court shall receive an annual salary.
The President shall receive a special annual allowance.
The Vice-President shall receive a special allowance for every day on which he acts as President.
The judges appointed under Article 31, other than members of the Court, shall receive an indemnity for each day on which they sit.
These salaries, allowances and indemnities shall be fixed by the Assembly of the League of Nations on the proposal of the Council. They may not be decreased during the term of office.
The salary of the Registrar shall be fixed by the Assembly on the proposal of the Court.
Regulations made by the Assembly shall fix the conditions under which retiring pensions may be given to members of the Court and to the Registrar, and the conditions under which members of the Court and the Registrar shall have their travelling expenses refunded.
The above salaries, indemnities and allowances shall be free of all taxation.
The expenses of the Court shall be borne by the League of Nations, in such a manner as shall be decided by the Assembly upon the proposal of the Council.
Only States or Members of the League of Nations can be parties in cases before the Court.
The Court shall be open to the Members of the League and also to States mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant.
The conditions under which the Court shall be open to other States shall, subject to the special provisions contained in treaties in force, be laid down by the Council, but in no case shall such provisions place the parties in a position of inequality before the Court.
When a State which is not a Member of the League of Nations is a party to a dispute, the Court will fix the amount which that party is to contribute towards the expenses of the Court. This provision shall not apply if such State is bearing a share of the expenses of the Court.
The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in treaties and conventions in force.
The Members of the League of Nations and the States mentioned in the Annex to the Covenant may, either when signing or ratifying the Protocol to which the present Statute is adjoined, or at a later moment, declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other Member or State accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court in all or any of the classes of legal disputes concerning:
(a) the interpretation of a treaty; (b) any question of international law; (c) the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation; (d) the nature or extent of the reparation to be made for the breach of an international obligation.
The declaration referred to above may be made unconditionally or on condition of reciprocity on the part of several or certain Members or States, or for a certain time.
In the event of a dispute as to whether the Court has jurisdiction, the matter shall be settled by the decision of the Court.
When a treaty or convention in force provides for the reference of a matter to a tribunal to be instituted by the League of Nations, the Court will be such tribunal.
The Court shall apply:
1. International conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting States; 2. International custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as law; 3. The general principles of law recognized by civilized nations; 4. Subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.
This provision shall not prejudice the power of the Court to decide a case ex aequo et bono, if the parties agree thereto.
The official languages of the Court shall be French and English. If the parties agree that the case shall be conducted in French, the judgment will be delivered in French. If the parties agree that the case shall be conducted in English, the judgment will be delivered in English.
In the absence of an agreement as to which language shall be employed, each party may, in the pleadings, use the language which it prefers; the decision of the Court will be given in French and English. In this case the Court will at the same time determine which of the two texts shall be considered as authoritative.
The Court may, at the request of any party, authorize a language other than French or English to be used.
Cases are brought before the Court, as the case may be, either by the notification of the special agreement or by a written application addressed to the Registrar. In either case the subject of the dispute and the contesting parties must be indicated.
The Registrar shall forthwith communicate the application to all concerned.
He shall also notify the Members of the League of Nations through the Secretary-General, and also any States entitled to appear before the Court.
The Court shall have the power to indicate, if it considers that circumstances so require, any provisional measures which ought to be taken to reserve the respective rights of either party.
Pending the final decision, notice of the measures suggested shall forthwith be given to the parties and the Council.
The parties shall be represented by agents.
They may have the assistance of counsel or advocates before the Court.
The procedure shall consist of two parts: written and oral.
The written proceedings shall consist of the communication to the judges and to the parties of Cases, Counter-Cases and, if necessary, Replies; also all papers and documents in support.
These communications shall be made through the Registrar, in the order and within the time fixed by the Court.
A certified copy of every document produced by one party shall be communicated to the other party.
The oral proceedings shall consist of the hearing by the Court of witnesses, experts, agents, counsel and advocates.
For the service of all notices upon persons other than the agents, counsel and advocates, the Court shall apply direct to the government of the State upon whose territory the notice has to be served.
The same provision shall apply whenever steps are to be taken to procure evidence on the spot.
The hearing shall be under the control of the President or, if he is unable to preside, of the Vice-President; if neither is able to preside, the senior judge present shall preside.
The hearing in Court shall be public, unless the Court shall decide otherwise, or unless the parties demand that the public be not admitted.
Minutes shall be made at each hearing, and signed by the Registrar and the President.
These minutes shall be the only authentic record.
The Court shall make orders for the conduct of the case, shall decide the form and time in which each party must conclude its arguments, and make all arrangements connected with the taking of evidence.
The Court may, even before the hearing begins, call upon the agents to produce any document, or to supply any explanations. Formal note shall be taken of any refusal.
The Court may, at any time, entrust any individual, body, bureau, commission or other organization that it may select, with the task of carrying out an enquiry or giving an expert opinion.
During the hearing any relevant questions are to be put to the witnesses and experts under the conditions laid down by the Court in the rules of procedure referred to in Article 30.
After the Court has received the proofs and evidence within the time specified for the purpose, it may refuse to accept any further oral or written evidence that one party may desire to present unless the other side consents.
Whenever one of the parties shall not appear before the Court, or shall fail to defend his case, the other party may call upon the Court to decide in favour of his claim.
The Court must, before doing so, satisfy itself, not only that it has jurisdiction in accordance with Articles 36 and 37, but also that the claim is well founded in fact and law.
When, subject to the control of the Court, the agents, advocates and counsel have completed their presentation of the case, the President shall declare the hearing closed.
The Court shall withdraw to consider the judgment.
The deliberations of the Court shall take place in private and remain secret.
All questions shall be decided by a majority of the judges present at the hearing.
In the event of an equality of votes, the President or his deputy shall have a casting vote.
The judgment shall state the reasons on which it is based.
It shall contain the names of the judges who have taken part in the decision.
If the judgment does not represent in whole or in part the unanimous opinion of the judges, dissenting judges are entitled to deliver a separate opinion.
The judgment shall be signed by the President and by the Registrar. It shall be read in open Court, due notice having been given to the agents.
The decision of the Court has no binding force except between the parties and in respect of that particular case.
The judgment is final and without appeal. In the event of dispute as to the meaning or scope of the judgment, the Court shall construe it upon the request of any party.
An application for revision of a judgment can be made only when it is based upon the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor, which fact was, when the judgment was given, unknown to the Court and also to the party claiming revision, always provided that such ignorance was not due to negligence.
The proceedings for revision will be opened by a judgment of the Court expressly recording the existence of the new fact, recognizing that it has such a character as to lay the case open to revision, and declaring the application admissible on this ground.
The Court may require previous compliance with the terms of the judgment before it admits proceedings in revision.
The application for revision must be made at latest within six months of the discovery of the new fact.
No application for revision may be made after the lapse of ten years from the date of the sentence.
Should a State consider that it has an interest of a legal nature which may be affected by the decision in the case, it may submit a request to the Court to be permitted to intervene as a third party.
It will be for the Court to decide upon this request.
Whenever the construction of a convention to which States other than those concerned in the case are parties is in question the Registrar shall notify all such States forthwith.
Every State so notified has the right to intervene in the proceedings: but if it uses this right, the construction given by the judgment will be equally binding upon it.
Unless otherwise decided by the Court, each party shall bear its own costs.
Questions upon which the advisory opinion of the Court is asked shall be laid before the Court by means of a written request, signed either by the President of the Assembly or the President of the Council of the League of Nations, or by the Secretary-General of the League under instructions from the Assembly or the Council.
The request shall contain an exact statement of the question upon which an opinion is required, and shall be accompanied by all documents likely to throw light upon the question.
1. The Registrar shall forthwith give notice of the request for an advisory opinion to the Members of the League of Nations, through the Secretary-General of the League, and to any States entitled to appear before the Court.
The Registrar shall also, by means of a special and direct communication, notify any Member of the League or State admitted to appear before the Court or international organization considered by the Court (or, should it not be sitting, by the President) as likely to be able to furnish information on the question, that the Court will be prepared to receive, within a time-limit to be fixed by the President, written statements, or to hear, at a public sitting to be held for the purpose, oral statements relating to the question.
Should any Member or State referred to in the first paragraph have failed to receive the communication specified above, such Member or State may express a desire to submit a written statement, or to be heard; and the Court will decide.
2. Members, States, and organizations having presented written or oral statements or both shall be admitted to comment on the statements made by other Members, States, or organizations in the form, to the extent and within the time-limits which the Court, or, should it not be sitting, the President, shall decide in each particular case. Accordingly, the Registrar shall in due time communicate any such written statements to Members, States, and organizations having submitted similar statements.
The Court shall deliver its advisory opinions in open Court, notice having been given to the Secretary-General of the League of Nations and to the representatives of Members of the League, of States and of international organizations immediately concerned.
In the exercise of its advisory functions, the Court shall further be guided by the provisions of the Statute which apply in contentious cases to the extent to which it recognizes them to be applicable.
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