The International Court of Justice,
Having regard to Articles 48 and 50 of the Statute of the Court and Article
57 of the Rules,
And to the fact that certain points have been contested between the Parties
which make it necessary to obtain an expert opinion,
I.An expert opinion shall be obtained upon the following points:
(1) You are requested to examine the situation in the North Corfu Strait
immediately before October 22nd, 1946, from the point of view of (a) the
position of the swept channel; (b) the effectiveness of the mine-clearance
previously carried out; and (c) the risk of encountering floating mines in
this Channel owing to the proximity of the old minefields, and to study the
German documents in order to obtain information from them concerning the
types of mines laid in those minefields.
(2) You are requested to examine the information and documents available
concerning the navigation of the Mauritius, the Saumarez and the Volage, in
order to ascertain what conclusions, if any, may be drawn concerning the
identity of the type of mines which struck the two last-named vessels [p125]
with the type of mines discovered on November 13th, 1946, and to state how
far, in your opinion, these conclusions can be regarded as valid.
(3) You are requested to examine the information and documents available
relating to the damage suffered by the Saumarez and the Volage, and to the
fragments of a mine found in the Volage, with a view to ascertaining what
conclusions, if any, may be drawn regarding the types of mine which struck
these vessels, and how far these conclusions can, in your opinion, be
regarded as valid.
(4) You are requested to examine the questions whether it is possible to
draw (a) from the position of the mines swept on November 13th, 1946; (b)
from the fact that a complete mine-clearance of the Albanian waters in this
area had not yet been carried out at that time; and (c) from the passage of
the Mauritius on the 22nd October, 1946, without striking any mine, any
conclusions, and, if so, what conclusions, regarding the existence of a
methodically laid minefield and the object for which, in the light of the
disposition of the mines, they appear to have been laid.
(5) From the state of the mines swept on November 13th, 1946, can you draw
any conclusions, and, if so, what conclusions, as to the date on which they
were moored, and, in particular, on the question whether they were moored
before or after the 22nd October, 1946?
(6) Having regard to the replies given, by agreement between the Parties, to
the questions concerning the position of the sun at Sibenik on October 17th
and 18th, 1946, and on the basis of the documents in the case, does the
examination of the factual circumstances concerning (a) the date, (b) the
time of day, (c) the lie of the land, (d) the conditions of visibility, (e)
the position of the objects (ships, mines, horns, rails), (f) their form,
colour and dimensions, lead you to the conclusion that, in the circumstances
in which the witness Kovacic was situated, it was possible for him to see
the loading and the presence of GY mines on board two ships of the M-class
in Panikovac Cove and the rails on the ships?
(7) You are requested to state your opinion as to
(a) the number of GY mines which a minelayer of the M-class could load;
(b)the time required by two ships of this class, each possessing a derrick
and a steam winch, and lying approximately in the positions indicated by the
witness Kovacic, to take their complete load of mines; and [p126]
(c) whether GY mines are normally fitted with horns when they are loaded on
ships, or whether, on the contrary, they normally have to be fitted with the
horns at the time when they are moored.
(8) On the assumption that the mines discovered on November 13th, 1946, were
laid at some date within the few preceding months, whoever may have laid
them, you are requested to examine the information available regarding
(a) the number and the nature of the mines,
(b) the means for laying them, and
(c) the time required to do so, having regard to the different states of the
sea, the conditions of the locality, and the different weather conditions,
and to ascertain whether it is possible in that way to draw any conclusions,
and, if so, what conclusions, in regard to (i) the means employed for laying
the minefield discovered on November 13th, 1946, and to (ii) the
possibility of mooring those mines with those means without the Albanian
authorities being aware of it, having regard to the extent of the measures
of vigilance existing in the Saranda region.
II. The duty of giving the expert opinion shall be entrusted to a Committee
of Experts composed of Commodore J. Bull, of the Royal Norwegian Navy,
Commodore S. A. Forshell, of the Royal Swedish Navy, and
Lieutenant-Commander S. J. W. Elfferich, of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
The Experts shall elect a chairman from amongst their number
III. After undertaking to serve, each Expert shall make in Court the
"I solemnly declare upon my honour and conscience that I will perform my
duties in all sincerity and will abstain from divulging or using, outside
the Court, any secrets of a military or technical nature which may come to
my knowledge in the course of the performance of my task."
IV.The Registrar shall be responsible for the secretarial arrangements of
the Committee of Experts. He may appoint a high official of the Registry to
perform these duties.
V.The Registrar shall place the pleadings, the documents filed and the
verbatim record of public sittings at the disposal of the Experts.
VI.The Experts shall bear in mind that their task is not to prepare a
scientific or technical statement of the problems involved, but to give to
the Court a precise and concrete opinion upon the. points submitted to them.
VII.The Experts shall not limit themselves to stating their findings; they
will also, as far as possible, give the reasons for these [p127] findings in
order to make their true significance apparent to the Court. If need be,
they will mention any doubts or differences of opinion amongst them.
VIII.The Experts shall file their report in the Registry, at the latest, on
the 10th of January, 1949. The report shall be communicated by the Registry
to the Agents of the Parties.
IX.The Court reserves the right to put further questions to the Experts if
it thinks fit.
Done in French and English, the English text being authoritative, at the
Peace Palace, The Hague, this seventeenth day of December, nineteen hundred
and forty-eight, in three copies, one of which shall be placed in the
archives of the Court, and the others handed to the Agents of the Government
of the People's Republic of Albania and of the Government of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland respectively.
(Signed) J. G.Guerero,
(Signed) E. Hambro,