The International Court sitting which began at the Hague in Holland on Friday (January 5) was to decide whether it had jurisdiction over the Icelandic fishing limits dispute with Britain and West Germany.
GV EXT. International Court building
SV INT. British lawyers seated (2 shots)
SV PAN Along empty Icelandic benches
SV Lawyers talking
SV Judges enter court
SV PAN Along judges at bench
SV Judges seated
SV Judges PAN TO court
Initials SGM/0224 SGM/0234
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Background: The International Court sitting which began at the Hague in Holland on Friday (January 5) was to decide whether it had jurisdiction over the Icelandic fishing limits dispute with Britain and West Germany. During the day's arguments, presented by British Attorney-General Sir Pater Rawlinson, the Icelandic bench remained empty -- for Iceland's Government has refused to recognise the Court.
Sir Peter accused Iceland of deliberately flouting previous International Court orders not to harass British trawlers fishing off the Iceland coast. Pressing Britain's argument that Iceland's extension of its fishing limits last September from 12 to 50 nautical miles was a violation of international law, he said that between September 4 and November 23 last year eight British vessels had their trawls cut by Icelandic gun-boats.
Despite Iceland's attitude Britain had tried to reach an interim settlement, said Sir Peter, but without success. He also said Iceland's limit extension was a direct contravention of a 1961 agreement between the two nations, when Iceland originally extended its limits to twelve miles. In it, Iceland undertook to give six months' notice of any further proposed increase -- and to refer any subsequent dispute to the International Court, he said.
A similar agreement was signed with West Germany, which was scheduled to present its arguments to the Court on Monday (January 8).
SYNOPSIS: The International Court of Justice at the Hague, in Holland, began sitting on Friday to decide whether it has any jurisdiction in the Icelandic fishing limits dispute with Britain and West Germany. The two latter nations claim the Court has the jurisdiction to rule on the dispute, but Iceland is refusing to recognise it, and has boycotted the hearing.
During Friday's sittings Britain put its case -- through its Attorney-General -- claiming that Iceland's extension of its fishing limits to fifty miles last September contravened international law -- AND a 1961 agreement between them during an earlier 'cod war'. The Attorney-General, Sir Peter Rawlinson, also accused Iceland of contravening a recent International Court ruling not to harass British trawlers.