Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



It has been demonstrated that although the Argentine Declaration of Nullity does not contain valid legal arguments for rejection, it does indicate weaknesses in the Court's opinion that make it vulnerable to rejection for political reasons. Specifically, the Court's remarks about Chilean possession of disputed islands outside the hammer were especially ill-advised. In addition, the Court failed to clearly articulate the reason for dividing the small Channel islands by appurtenance while refusing to do so for PNL. Finally, the Court's refusal to apply an Oceanic principle, even in a narrow sense, was questionable in a case in which the legal arguments based upon the Treaty text were closely balanced. The Court's lack of power to decide "ex aequo et bono" did not prevent a broad interpretation of the Treaty to include some version of the Oceanic principle. Although the Court's refusal to apply the Oceanic principle was logically defensible, its broadside discrediting of the principle was not. The Court's adverse findings were made even more unacceptable to Argentina by virtue of such flaws in style. If the members of the International Court of Justice are to play a more important role in resolving future heated international disputes, they will have to speed up the procedure of the bodies on which they serve, improve their judicial style, and pay more attention to the symbolism of international politics.