1923

PCIJ

Nationality Decrees issued in Tunis and Morocco case Advisory Opinion

The Bey of Tunis, the Shereefian Majesty of Morocco and the President of France issued in 1921 decrees concerning the nationality of certain persons born in Tunis and Morocco. In particular the issue was the pretension to impose Tunisian and Moroccan nationality instead of French to British nationals born there. 1922 British government protested to France against the application of these decrees to British nationals. The matter was referred to the LN, France suggested to ask the court and advisory opinion before refer the dispute to arbitration. The court was asked if they were matters of domestic jurisdiction in the sense of art 15.8 LN, the court answer in negative 15.8 LN “If the dispute between the parties is claimed by one of them, and is found by the Council, to arise out of a matter which by international law is solely within the domestic jurisdiction of that party, the Council shall so report, and shall make no recommendation as to its settlement”

(24) The question whether a certain matter is or is not solely within the jurisdiction of a state is an essentially relative question; it depends upon the development of international relations. Thus in the present state of IL, question s of nationality are, in the opinion of the court, in principle within this reserved domain … Nationality is not in principle regulated by International Law, the right of the state to use its discretion is nevertheless restricted by obligations which it may have undertaken towards other states. In such a case, jurisdiction which, in principle, belongs solely to the state, is limited by rules of international law… So the matter refer to the court is not, by international law, solely a matter of domestic jurisdiction, 15.8 LN, and therefore the replies in negative