Links

Site search
Document search
Contact

The Court

History
Members of the Court
Presidency
Chambers and Committees
Judges ad hoc
How the Court Works
Financial Assistance to Parties
Annual Reports

The Registry

Registrar
Organizational Chart of the Registry
Texts governing the Registry
Library of the Court
Employment
University traineeship program
Internships
Procurement

Cases

List of All Cases
Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders

Basic Documents

Charter of the United Nations
Statute of the Court
Rules of Court
Practice Directions
Other Texts

Jurisdiction

Contentious Jurisdiction
Advisory Jurisdiction

Press Room

Press releases
Calendar
Media Services
Multimedia
Frequently Asked Questions

Practical Information

Directions
Visits
Links
Frequently Asked Questions

Publications

Introduction

Permanent Court of International Justice

Series A: Collection of Judgments (1923-1930)
Series B: Collection of Advisory Opinions (1923-1930)
Series A/B: Collection of Judgments, Orders and Advisory Opinions (from 1931)
Series C: Acts and documents relating to Judgments and Advisory Opinions given by the Court / Pleadings, Oral Arguments and Documents
Series D: Acts and Documents concerning the organization of the Court
Series E: Annual Reports
Series F: General Indexes
Other documents


Français

Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania)

Overview of the case

This dispute gave rise to three Judgments by the Court. It arose out of the explosions of mines by which some British warships suffered damage while passing through the Corfu Channel in 1946, in a part of the Albanian waters which had been previously swept. The ships were severely damaged and members of the crew were killed. The United Kingdom seised the Court of the dispute by an Application filed on 22 May 1947 and accused Albania of having laid or allowed a third State to lay the mines after mine-clearing operations had been carried out by the Allied naval authorities. The case had previously been brought before the United Nations and, in consequence of a recommendation by the Security Council, had been referred to the Court.

In a first Judgment, rendered on 25 March 1948, the Court dealt with the question of its jurisdiction and the admissibility of the Application, which Albania had raised. The Court found, inter alia, that a communication dated 2 July 1947, addressed to it by the Government of Albania, constituted a voluntary acceptance of its jurisdiction. It recalled on that occasion that the consent of the parties to the exercise of its jurisdiction was not subject to any particular conditions of form and stated that, at that juncture, it could not hold to be irregular a proceeding not precluded by any provision in those texts.

A second Judgment, rendered on 9 April 1949, related to the merits of the dispute. The Court found that Albania was responsible under international law for the explosions that had taken place in Albanian waters and for the damage and loss of life which had ensued. It did not accept the view that Albania had itself laid the mines or the purported connivance of Albania with a mine-laying operation carried out by the Yugoslav Navy at the request of Albania. On the other hand, it held that the mines could not have been laid without the knowledge of the Albanian Government. On that occasion, it indicated in particular that the exclusive control exercised by a State within its frontiers might make it impossible to furnish direct proof of facts incurring its international responsibility. The State which is the victim must, in that case, be allowed a more liberal recourse to inferences of fact and circumstantial evidence ; such indirect evidence must be regarded as of especial weight when based on a series of facts, linked together and leading logically to a single conclusion. Albania, for its part, had submitted a counter-claim against the United Kingdom. It accused the latter of having violated Albanian sovereignty by sending warships into Albanian territorial waters and of carrying out minesweeping operations in Albanian waters after the explosions. The Court did not accept the first of these complaints but found that the United Kingdom had exercised the right of innocent passage through international straits. On the other hand, it found that the minesweeping had violated Albanian sovereignty, because it had been carried out against the will of the Albanian Government. In particular, it did not accept the notion of “self-help” asserted by the United Kingdom to justify its intervention.

In a third Judgment, rendered on 15 December 1949, the Court assessed the amount of reparation owed to the United Kingdom and ordered Albania to pay £844,000.


This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Preliminary Objection of the Albanian Government
(French version only)

1 December 1947
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1948/1

Minutes of the Sittings held from February 26th to March 5th, 1948
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1949/1

Minutes of the Sittings held from November 9th to April 9th, 1949
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1949/2

Minutes of the Sittings held from November 9th to April 9th, 1949 (cont.)
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1949/3

Minutes of the Sittings held on November 17th and December 15th, 1949
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 31 July 1947

Fixing of time-limits: Memorial and Counter-Memorial
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 10 December 1947

Fixing of time-limit: Written statement of observations and submissions on preliminary objections
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 26 March 1948

Fixing of time-limits: Counter-Memorial, Reply and Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 9 April 1949

Assessment of the amount of compensation due from the People's Republic of Albania: Fixing of time-limits
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 24 June 1949

Assessment of the amount of compensation due from the People's Republic of Albania: Extension of time-limits
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 19 November 1949

Assessment of the amount of compensation due from the People's Republic of Albania: Appointment of Expert
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Judgment of 15 December 1949

Assessment of the amount of compensation due from the People's Republic of Albania to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (including the text of the declaration of the Judge Krylov)
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1948/1

Summary of the Judgment of 25 March 1948
Available in:
English French

Summary 1949/1

Summary of the Judgment of 9 April 1949
Available in:
English French

Summary 1949/3

Summary of the Judgment of 15 December 1949
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1949/1

10 January 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The Court will resume its hearing on 17 January 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/2

21 January 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The naval experts will leave on 23 January 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/3

2 February 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - Return of the mission of naval experts
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/4

9 February 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The naval experts delivered their report to the Registrar of the Court on 8 February 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/9

5 April 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The Court will deliver its Judgment on 9 April 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/11

9 April 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - Judgment of the Court of 9 April 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/13

25 June 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - Order extending the time-limit for the submission by Albania of its observations
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/16

1 October 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The Court will hold a public hearing on 17 November 1949 devoted to the final phase of the case
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/23

17 November 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The Court holds a public hearing devoted to the final phase of the case
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/25

12 December 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - The Court will deliver its Judgment on 15 December 1949
Available in:
English French

Press release 1949/26

15 December 1949
Corfu Channel (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania) - Judgment of the Court of 15 December 1949
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

22 May 1947
Correspondence
Available in:
English French