The World Court, sitting at the Peace Palace in the Hague on Wednesday (January 27) rejected a South African application for the withdrawal from the South West Africa case of three judges on the grounds that they are biased.
CU Gates of Court of Justice Pan to building
CU Sign on door, "South Africa"
CU Clerk brings in books
CU Cover of book
CU Pages of books being turned
CU Paper "Request For Advisory Opinion"
MS Photographer Pan to lawyers
MCS Lawyers go into court
Initials BB/BHH/OS/23.09 BB/BHH/OS/2315
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The World Court, sitting at the Peace Palace in the Hague on Wednesday (January 27) rejected a South African application for the withdrawal from the South West Africa case of three judges on the grounds that they are biased. The Court has been asked by the United Nations Security Council for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of South Africa's continued presence in South West Africa.
The Court had, however been asked to first give rulings on two preliminary objections by the Republic.
South Africa objected to the presence on the 15-strong Bench of the Court President, Judge Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan of Pakistan, Judge Padilla Nervo of Mexico and Judge Platon Morozov of the Soviet Union. It claimed that all three had at some time made attacks on South African policies in South West Africa in the United Nations.
South West Africa has been administered by South Africa under a mandate of the old League of Nations, but this has been declared invalid by the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly cancelled South Africa's League of Nations mandate over the territory - named by the U.N. as Namibia - in 1966, but the Pretoria Government rejected the move, terming it illegal.
South Africa is the first country in the World Court's history to challenge its composition.
Before the private hearings started, South African legal representatives were informed officially that the Court had rejected its application for the withdrawal of the three Judges.