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

Western Sahara

Overview of the case

On 13 December 1974, the General Assembly requested an advisory opinion on the following questions : “I. Was Western Sahara (Rio de Oro and Sakiet El Hamra) at the time of colonization by Spain a territory belonging to no one (terra nullius) ?” If the answer to the first question is in the negative, “II. What were the legal ties between this territory and the Kingdom of Morocco and the Mauritanian entity ?” In its Advisory Opinion, delivered on 16 October 1975, the Court replied to Question I in the negative. In reply to Question II, it expressed the opinion that the materials and information presented to it showed the existence, at the time of Spanish colonization, of legal ties of allegiance between the Sultan of Morocco and some of the tribes living in the territory of Western Sahara. They equally showed the existence of rights, including some rights relating to the land, which constituted legal ties between the Mauritanian entity, as understood by the Court, and the territory of Western Sahara. On the other hand, the Court’s conclusion was that the materials and information presented to it did not establish any tie of territorial sovereignty between the territory of Western Sahara and the Kingdom of Morocco or the Mauritanian entity. Thus the Court did not find any legal ties of such a nature as might affect the application of the General Assembly’s 1960 resolution 1514 (XV) — containing the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples — in the decolonization of Western Sahara and, in particular, of the principle of self-determination through the free and genuine expression of the will of the peoples of the territory.
This overview is provided for information only and in no way involves the responsibility of the Court.

Request for Advisory Opinion

Request for Advisory Opinion (including the dossier of documents transmitted to the Court pursuant to article 65, paragraph 2 of the Statute)

21 December 1974
Request for Advisory Opinion (including the dossier of documents transmitted to the Court pursuant to article 65, paragraph 2 of the Statute)
Available in:
English French

Written proceedings

Written Statements and Documents (Spain - Cont.)
(French version only)

26 March 1975
Available in:
French

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1975

Minutes of the Public Sittings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 12 to 16 May 1975, President Lachs presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1975

Minutes of the Public Sittings held at the Peace Palace, The Hague, from 16 to 30 July and on 16 October 1975, President Lachs presiding
Available in:
Original Language

Orders

Order of 3 January 1975

Fixing of time-limit: Written Statements
Available in:
English French Bilingual

Advisory opinions

Summaries of Advisory Opinions and Orders

Summary 1975/1

Summary of the Advisory Opinion of 16 October 1975
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1975/1

9 January 1975
Western Sahara - General Assembly requested the Court to give an Advisory Opinion
Available in:
English French

Press release 1975/2
(French version only)

28 March 1975
Sahara occidental - Communications écrites des Etats (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/3
(French version only)

21 April 1975
Sahara occidental - La Cour tiendra audience le 12 mai 1975 (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/4
(French version only)

16 May 1975
Sahara occidental - Composition des délégations présentes aux audiences tenues du 12 au 16 mai 1975 (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/5
(French version only)

23 May 1975
Sahara occidental - La Cour internationale de Justice autorise la désignation d'un juge ad hoc par le Maroc (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/6
(French version only)

5 June 1975
Sahara occidental - La Cour tiendra audience à partir du 25 juin 1975 (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/7
(French version only)

25 June 1975
Sahara occidental - Ouverture des audiences publiques (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/8
(French version only)

3 July 1975
Sahara occidental - Clôture de la procédure orale (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/9
(French version only)

13 October 1975
Sahara occidental - La Cour rendra son avis consultatif le jeudi 16 octobre à 9 heures (French version only)
Available in:
French

Press release 1975/10
(French version only)

16 October 1975
La Cour internationale de Justice rend son avis consultatif dans l'affaire du Sahara occidental (French version only)
Available in:
French

Correspondence

Correspondence

14 December 1974
Correspondence
Available in:
English French