According to the application Australia had failed to observe the obligation to respect the duties and powers of Portugal as the administrator power of East Timor and the right of East Timor to self-determination, by entering into a 1989 treaty with Indonesia, which had occupied by force and illegally claimed title to East Timor. The treaty delimited continental shelf.
Australia objected that there was in reality no dispute between itself and Portugal, that the ‘real dispute’ and the true respondent is Indonesia. Portugal and Australia had accepted compulsory jurisdiction 36.2, but Indonesia not.
Australia objected that Portugal’s application would require the Court to determine the rights and obligations of Indonesia. Court was required to rule on the lawfulness of Indonesia’s entry into and continuing presence in East Timor on the validity of the 1989 Treaty between Indonesia and Australia
(22) A dispute is a disagreement on a point of law or fact, a conflict of legal views or interest between parties, Mavromatis 1924. In order to establish the existence of a dispute it must be shown that the claim of one party is positively opposed by the other, SWA 1962. Whether there exist a dispute is a matter for objective determination, Interpretation of peace treaties 1950