1996

ICJ

Case concerning Oil platforms Iran v US Preliminary objection

Iran made an application in respect of a dispute arising out the attack on and destruction of three offshore oil production complexes, owned and operated for commercial purposes by the Iran, by US warships on 19-nov-87 & 18-april-88 Iran claimed that they were violation of the treaty of Amity 1955 and IL, basis of jurisdiction art XXI of such treaty: ‘any dispute between the parties as to the interpretation or application of the present treaty, not satisfactorily adjusted by diplomacy, shall be submitted to the ICJ, unless the parties agree to settlement by some other pacific means’ Art I ‘There shall be firm and enduring peace and sincere friendship between the US and Iran’ (14) US maintained that the application bears no relation to the Treaty, and the court must find it lacks jurisdiction to deal with (18) US contended that Treaty did not apply to questions concerning use of force the attacks ‘occurred …in the context of a long series of attacks by Iran on US and other neutral vessels engaged in peaceful commerce in the Persian Gulf’

(20) Court notes that the Treaty contains no provision expressly excluding certain matters from the jurisdiction of the ICJ, [but even if the text could be interpreted], as excluding the jurisdiction of the court to test the lawfulness of such measure, it could also be understood as affording only a defence on the merits. Art XX.1.d does not restrict its jurisdiction in the present case but is confined to affording the parties a possible defence on the merits to be used should the occasion arise (27) [Regarding art I as basis from jurisdiction] the court considers that such general formulation cannot be interpreted in isolation from the object and purpose of the Treaty in which it is inserted (31) The objective of peace and friendship proclaimed in art I is such as to throw light on the interpretation of the other treaty provisions and is thus not without legal significance but cannot, taken in isolation, be a basis for the jurisdiction of the court. [Jurisdiction was found in art X, commerce and ancillary activities, where a dispute existed between the parties] (51) [Since] Iran oil production was a vital part of its economy, it constituted an important component of its foreign trade