WorldCourts: International Case Law Database   International Case Law Database
50,000+ decisions · 50+ institutions

27 November 2002


General List No. 125


international Court of Justice


Frontier Dispute








BEFORE: President: Guillaume;
Vice-President: Shi;
Judges: Oda, Ranjeva, Herczegh, Fleischhauer, Koroma, Vereshchetin, Higgins, Parra-Aranguren, Kooijmans, Rezek, Al-Khasawneh, Beurgenthal, Elaraby
Citation: Frontier Dispute (Benin v. Niger), 2002 I.C.J. 613 (Order of Nov. 27)
Represented By: Benin: H.E. Mr. Kolawolé A. Idji;
H.E. Mr. Joseph H. Gnonlonfoun;

Niger: H.E. Ms Aïchatou Mindaoudou;
H.E. Mr. Maty Elhadji Moussa.


The International Court of Justice,

Composed as above,

After deliberation,

Having regard to Article 26, paragraphs 2 and 3, Article 31 and Article 48 of the Statute of the Court, and to Articles 17, 18, 31, 35, 44, paragraphs 1 and 2, 46, paragraph 1, and 92, paragraph 1, of the Rules of Court,

Makes the following Order:

1. Whereas by a joint letter of 11 April 2002, filed in the Registry of the Court on 3 May 2002, the Ambassadors of the Republic of Benin and of the Republic of Niger transmitted to the Court a certified copy of a [p 614] Special Agreement signed on 15 June 2001, and having entered into force on 11 April 2002, by which the Governments of those two States agreed to submit to a Chamber of the Court a dispute concerning “the definitive delimitation of the whole boundary between them”;

2. Whereas by the above-mentioned joint letter the Government of Benin informed the Court of the appointment of H.E. Mr. Kolawolé A. Idji as Agent and of H.E. Mr. Joseph H. Gnonlonfoun
as Co-Agent, and by the same letter the Government of Niger informed the Court of the appointment of H.E. Ms Aïchatou Mindaoudou as Agent and of H.E. Mr. Maty Elhadji Moussa as Co-Agent;

3. Whereas the Special Agreement provides in Article 1 for the submission of the dispute to a Chamber to be formed pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 2, of the Statute and for the choice of a
judge ad hoc by each Party, in accordance with Article 31 of the Statute;

4. Whereas on 2 July 2002 the Parties, having been duly consulted by the President as to the composition of the proposed Chamber, indicated that they desired the formation of a Chamber of
five members, of whom two would be the judges ad hoc to be chosen by them;

5. Whereas by a letter of 21 August 2002 the Deputy Agent of Benin notified to the Court his Government’s choice of Mr. Mohamed Bennouna to sit as judge ad hoc; and whereas the Agent of Niger, by a letter of 11 September 2002, notified to the Court her Government’s choice of Mr. Mohammed Bedjaoui to sit as judge ad hoc; and whereas no objection has been raised by either Party to the choice of judge ad hoc made by the other, and no objection to such choice has appeared to the Court itself;

6. Whereas in Article 3, paragraph 1 (a), of the Special Agreement the Parties agree that the
written proceedings should start with the filing of a Memorial by each Party not later than nine
months after the adoption by the Court of the Order constituting the Chamber;


1. Decides to accede to the request of the Governments of the Republic of Benin and the Republic of Niger that it should form a Special Chamber of five judges to deal with the present case;

2. Declares that at an election held on 27 November 2002, President Guillaume and Judges Ranjeva and Kooijmans were elected to form, together with the above-named judges ad hoc, a Chamber to deal with this case and that, accordingly, such a Chamber is duly constituted by the present Order, with the following composition:

President Guillaume;
Judges Ranjeva,
Judges ad hoc Bedjaoui,

[p 615]
3. Fixes 27 August 2003 as the time-limit for the filing of a Memorial by each Party; and

Reserves the subsequent procedure for further decision.

Done in French and in English, the French text being authoritative, at the Peace Palace, The Hague, this twenty-seventh day of November, two thousand and two, in three copies, one of which will be placed in the archives of the Court and the others transmitted to the Government of
the Republic of Benin and the Government of the Republic of Niger, respectively.

(Signed) Gilbert GUILLAUME,

(Signed) Philippe COUVREUR,

Judge ODA appends a declaration to the Order of the Court.
(Initialled) G. G.
(Initialled) Ph. C.

[p 616]


While I voted in favour of the Order constituting a Chamber, I feel that it is my duty, as the only judge now on the Bench who participated in the deliberations on the constitution of all four previous Chambers in the Court’s history, to make known my view that in order for an ad hoc Chamber formed under Article 26 of the Statute ¾ an institution which is essentially an arbitral tribunal ¾ to be constituted, it must be clear beyond all doubt that the litigating parties have agreed, before the Court decides on the constitution, not only as to the number of Chamber members but also as to who they ought to be (see declaration of Judge Oda in the case concerning the Land, Island and Maritime Frontier Dispute (El Salvador/Honduras), Constitution of Chamber, Order of 8 May 1987, I.C.J. Reports 1987, p. 13; Oda, “Further Thoughts on the Chambers Procedure of the International Court of Justice”, The American Journal of International Law, Vol. 82 (1988), p. 556).

(Signed) Shigeru ODA.