Maritime delimitations and Territorial questions Case Qatar v Bahrain Jurisdiction

Qatar instituted proceeding against Bharain in respect dispute concerning sovereignty over Hawar islands, shoals of Dibal and delimitation of maritime areas between the two states. Jurisdiction was founded upon two agreements of 1988 and 1990. The disputes arises within the good offices of Saudi Arabia, with the Amirs of Bahrain and Qatar. Parties agreed that the exchange of letter on December 1987 were an international agreement, but Bahrain maintained that the minutes of 25 November 1990 were no more than a simple record of negotiations of the tripartite committee

In order to ascertain whether an international agreement has been concluded the court must have regard above all to its actual terms and to the particular circumstances in which it was drawn up. The minutes refer to consultations between foreign ministers of Qatar, Bahrain, in presence of foreign minister of Saudi Arabia and stated it had been ‘agreed’ between the parties that good offices will continue until May 1991 excluding submission to ICJ thereto. Then circumstances are addressed for a submission to ICJ. The minutes of a tripartite committee established by three states to negotiate the referral of a dispute to the ICJ ‘document headed 'Minutes' and signed at Doha on 25 December 1990 by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, They do not merely give account of discussions and summarise points of agreement and disagreement. They enumerate commitments to which the parties have consented. They create rights and obligations in IL for the parties. They are international agreements creating rights and obligations for the Parties The court would observe that an international agreement or treaty that has not been registered with the secretariat of the UN may not, according to 102 UN, be invoked by the parties before any organ of the UN. Non-registration, or late registration, on the other hand, does not have any consequence for the actual validity of the agreement, which remains no less binding upon the parties [it was registered by fax six months after signature]