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Français

Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case

Overview of the case

On 21 August 1995, the New Zealand Government filed in the Registry a document entitled “Request for an Examination of the Situation” in which reference was made to a “proposed action announced by France which will, if carried out, affect the basis of the Judgment rendered by the Court on 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) case”, namely “a decision announced by France in a media statement of 13 June 1995” by the President of the French Republic, according to which “France would conduct a final series of eight nuclear weapons tests in the South Pacific starting in September 1995”. In that Request, the Court was reminded that, at the end of its 1974 Judgment, it had found that it was not called upon to give a decision on the claim submitted by New Zealand in 1973, that claim no longer having any object, by virtue of the declarations by which France had undertaken not to carry out further atmospheric nuclear tests. That Judgment contained a paragraph 63 worded as follows

“Once the Court has found that a State has entered into a commitment concerning its future conduct it is not the Court’s function to contemplate that it will not comply with it. However, the Court observes that if the basis of this Judgment were to be affected, the Applicant could request an examination of the situation in accordance with the provisions of the Statute . . .”

New Zealand asserted that this paragraph gave it the “right”, in such circumstances, to request “the resumption of the case begun by application on 9 May 1973”, and observed that the operative part of the Judgment concerned could not be construed as showing any intention on the part of the Court definitively to close the case. On the same day, the New Zealand Government also filed in the Registry a “Further Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures” in which reference was made, inter alia, to the Order for the indication of provisional measures made by the Court on 22 June 1973, which was principally aimed at ensuring that France would refrain from conducting any further nuclear tests at Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls.

After holding public hearings on 11 and 12 September 1995, the Court made its Order on 22 September 1995. The Court found that, when inserting into paragraph 63 the sentence “the Applicant could request an examination of the situation in accordance with the provisions of the Statute”, it had not excluded a special procedure for access to it (unlike those mentioned in the Court’s Statute, such as the filing of a new application, or a request for interpretation or revision, which would have been open to the Applicant in any event) ; however, it found that that special procedure would only be available to the Applicant if circumstances were to arise which affected the basis of the 1974 Judgment. And that, it found, was not the case, as the decision announced by France in 1995 had related to a series of underground tests, whereas the basis of the Judgment of 1974 was France’s undertaking not to conduct any further atmospheric nuclear tests. Consequently, New Zealand’s Request for provisional measures and the Applications for permission to intervene submitted by Australia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia as well as the Declarations of Intervention made by the last four States, all of which were proceedings incidental to New Zealand’s main request, likewise had to be dismissed.


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

Institution of proceedings

Written proceedings

Further Request for the indication of Provisional Measures by New Zealand

21 August 1995
Procedure(s): Provisional measures
Available in:
English

Aide-mémoire of New Zealand

5 September 1995
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
English

Aide-mémoire of the French Republic
(French version only)

6 September 1995
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
French

Supplementary Aide-mémoire of New Zealand

7 September 1995
Procedure(s): Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility
Available in:
English

Oral proceedings

Verbatim record 1995/19

Public sitting held on Monday 11 September 1995, at 3.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Bedjaoui presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures | Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility | Intervention
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1995/20

Public sitting held on Tuesday 12 September 1995, at 10 a.m., at the Peace Palace, President Bedjaoui presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures | Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility | Intervention
Available in:
Original Language

Verbatim record 1995/21

Public sitting held on Tuesday 12 September 1995, at 2.30 p.m., at the Peace Palace, President Bedjaoui presiding
Procedure(s): Provisional measures | Questions of jurisdiction and/or admissibility | Intervention
Available in:
Original Language

Other documents

Written Replies by France to Questions put by Judges
(French version only)

15 September 1995
Available in:
French

Orders

Summaries of Judgments and Orders

Summary 1995/3

Summary of the Order of 22 September 1995
Available in:
English French

Press releases

Press release 1995/22

21 August 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Provisional Measures Requested
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/23

23 August 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Application by Australia for permission to intervene
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/24

24 August 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Samoa and Solomon Islands seek to intervene
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/25

28 August 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - The Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia seek to intervene
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/26

8 September 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Public sitting to be held in The Hague on Monday 11 September 1995
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/27

12 September 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Progress and conclusion of the Court's public sittings
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/28

20 September 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Court to give its decision on Friday 22 September 1995
Available in:
English French

Press release 1995/29

22 September 1995
Request for an Examination of the Situation in Accordance with Paragraph 63 of the Court's Judgment of 20 December 1974 in the Nuclear Tests (New Zealand v. France) Case - Decision of the Court
Available in:
English French