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Permanent Court of International Justice

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Français

Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala)

Overview of the case

In this case, Liechtenstein claimed restitution and compensation from the Government of Guatemala on the ground that the latter had acted towards Friedrich Nottebohm, a citizen of Liechtenstein, in a manner contrary to international law. Guatemala objected to the Court’s jurisdiction but the Court overruled this objection in a Judgment of 18 November 1953. In a second Judgment, of 6 April 1955, the Court held that Liechtenstein’s claim was inadmissible on grounds relating to Mr. Nottebohm’s nationality. It was the bond of nationality between a State and an individual which alone conferred upon the State the right to put forward an international claim on his behalf. Mr. Nottebohm, who was then a German national, had settled in Guatemala in 1905 and continued to reside there. In October 1939 — after the beginning of the Second World War — while on a visit to Europe, he obtained Liechtenstein nationality and returned to Guatemala in 1940, where he resumed his former business activities until his removal as a result of war measures in 1943. On the international plane, the grant of nationality is entitled to recognition by other States only if it represents a genuine connection between the individual and the State granting its nationality. Mr. Nottebohm’s nationality, however, was not based on any genuine prior link with Liechtenstein and the sole object of his naturalization was to enable him to acquire the status of a neutral national in time of war. For these reasons, Liechtenstein was not entitled to take up his case and put forward an international claim on his behalf against Guatemala.


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

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Counter-Memorial submitted by the Government of Guatemala
(French version only)

20 April 1954
Available in:
French

Rejoinder submitted by the Government of Guatemala
(French version only)

2 November 1954
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1953/1

Minutes of the Public Sittings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, on November 10th and 18th, 1953, the President, Sir Arnold McNair, presiding
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1955/2

Minutes of the Public Sittings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, on February 10th to 24th, March 2nd to 8th, and April 6th, 1955, the President, Mr. Hackworth, presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Orders

Order of 26 January 1952

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

Order of 7 March 1952

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

Order of 21 March 1953

Fixing of time-limit: Written Statement of observations and submissions on Preliminary Objection
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Order of 15 January 1954

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

Order of 8 May 1954

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

Order of 13 September 1954

Extension of time-limit: Rejoinder
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Judgments

Judgment of 18 November 1953

Preliminary Objection (including the text of the declaration of Judge Klaestad)
Procedure(s): Preliminary objections
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1953/3

Summary of the Judgment of 18 November 1953
Available in:
English French

Summary 1955/1

Summary of the Judgment of 6 April 1955
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1951/59

17 December 1951
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Filing, by Liechtenstein, of an Application instituting proceedings against Guatemala
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/36

4 November 1953
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - The Court will sit on Tuesday, November 10th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/37

10 November 1953
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Hearing of November 10th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/39

16 November 1953
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - The Judgment will be read on Wednesday, November 18th, 1953
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/41

18 November 1953
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Judgment
Available in:
English French

Press release 1953/43

28 December 1953
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - The Government of Guatemala appoints its Agent and its Counsel
Available in:
English French

Press release 1954/21

26 November 1954
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Opening of the oral proceedings on Thursday, 10th February, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/3

10 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Hearing of February 10th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/4

11 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Hearing of February 11th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/6

14 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Hearings of February 14th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/7

15 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of February 15th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/8

16 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of February 16th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/9

17 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Hearing of February 17th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/10

18 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sitting of February 18th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/11

19 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sitting of February 19th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/12

21 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of February 21st, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/13

22 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of February 22nd, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/14

23 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of February 23rd, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/15

24 February 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of February 24th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/16

2 March 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of March 2nd, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/17

3 March 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of March 3rd, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/18

4 March 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of March 4th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/19

7 March 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of March 7th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/20

8 March 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Sittings of March 8th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/24

2 April 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - The Court's Judgment will be read on April 6th, 1955
Available in:
English French

Press release 1955/25

6 April 1955
Nottebohm (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) - Judgment
Available in:
English French

Correspondence

Correspondence

17 December 1951
Correspondence
Available in:
English French