15. Most of the reasons adduced in these proceedings in order to persuade
the Court that in the exercise of its discretionary power it should decline to
render the opinion requested by General Assembly resolution 49/75K were
summarized in the following statement made by one State in the written
"The question presented is vague and abstract, addressing complex issues
which are the subject of consideration among interested States and within other
bodies of the United Nations which have an express mandate to address these
matters. An opinion by the Court in regard to the question presented would
provide no practical assistance to the General Assembly in carrying out its
functions under the Charter. Such an opinion has the potential of undermining
progress already made or being made on this sensitive subject and, therefore, is
contrary to the interest of the United Nations Organization."
(United States of America, Written Statement, pp. 1-2; cf. pp. 3-7, II.
See also United Kingdom, Written Statement, pp. 9-20, paras. 2.23-2.45;
France, Written Statement, pp. 13-20, paras. 5-9; Finland, Written Statement,
pp. 1-2; Netherlands, Written Statement, pp. 3-4, paras. 6-13; Germany, Written
Statement, pp. 3-6, para. 2(b).))
In contending that the question put to the Court is vague and abstract, some
States appeared to mean by this that there exists no specific dispute on the
subject-matter of the question. In order to respond to this argument, it is
necessary to distinguish between requirements governing contentious procedure
and those applicable to advisory opinions. The purpose of the advisory function
is not to settle at least directly disputes between States, but to offer
legal advice to the organs and institutions requesting the opinion (cf.
Interpretation of Peace Treaties I.C.J. Reports 1950, p. 71). The fact that the
question put to the Court does not relate to a specific dispute should
consequently not lead the Court to decline to give the opinion requested.
International Court of Justice Opinion - Continued
World Court Page | Abolition 2000 | Proposition One
| Current Events