• Short Summary

    Australia's Attorney General, Mr. Lionel Murphy, opened the resumed Australian case against French nuclear test?

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    Australia's Attorney General, Mr. Lionel Murphy, opened the resumed Australian case against French nuclear test in the Pacific at the World Court in the Hague on Thursday (4 July).

    Mr. Murphy said a recent French government statement that France would move to underground tests as soon as the current series in the atmosphere was finished, meant that france was still reserving the right to carry out further tests in the Pacific.

    The French bench in the court room was again empty as France continued to boycott the International Court of Justice hearing, claiming that the court could not adjudicate on matters of national defence.

    Mr. Murphy described last year's series of five tests by the French as a clear and deliberate breach of the court interim order of 22 June, 1973. He explained to the 15 international judges -- one was ill -- how Australia had reacted.

    The hearing was to establish the Court's competence to deal with the matter, in which Australia and New Zealand are seeking an order stopping France from atmospheric testing in the Pacific.

    Senator Murphy said that despite the French arguments, the proceedings were "as relevant and as important as when they began last year". He said the Court had undoubted competence to bear the merits of the case and Australia was entitled as a matter of law to such a hearing.

    The President of the Court, Judge Manfred Lachs of Poland, noted the absence of a French government representative when he opened the proceedings.

    SYNOPSIS: The International Court of justice in the Hague began hearing Australia's resumed case against French nuclear tests in the Pacific on Thursday. The Australians have been seeking an order restraining the French from continuing tests.

    The French delegation seats were again empty as france continued to boycott the Court hearings. France claims the Court cannot adjudicate on matters of national defence.

    One of the international judges was ill and the hearing opened before a panel of fifteen. The hearing was to establish whether or not the Court was competent to deal with the matter. The judges were headed by Court President, Judge Manfred Lachs of Poland. Australia's case was presented by the Australian Attorney General, Mr. Lionel Murphy.

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