Washington Law Review


Julius Stone


South Africa was given the mandate over South West Africa by the Covenant of the League of Nations. While individual members of the League had no role in the administrative process of the mandate, it contained provisions protecting the interests of third party States, and article 7 of the mandate gave jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice over "disputes" between any member of the League and the mandatory power in relation to the mandate. The mandate and its obligations were continued after the formation of the United Nations but frequent disputes in that body left doubt upon the U.N.'s ability to compel the cessation of of apartheid in South West Africa. In 1960 Ethiopia and Liberia brought suit against South Africa in the International Court of Justice alleging breaches of the mandate. South Africa denied the Courts jurisdiction but two years later the Court rejected the jurisdictional challenge and heard the case on the merits, rendering its decision in 1966. The Court did not, however, reach the central issue of whether South Afric's policies of apartheid abused the mandate. The case was dismissed on the grounds that the claimants had "not established any legal right or interest in the subject-matter of their claims" sufficient to bring suit. This decision was reached only after a tie-breaking second ballot was cast by the President of the Court—a situation due, in part, to the replacement on the Court of two judges who in 1962 had taken a stand probably adverse to the position of South Africa in the 1966 case. [This article is the text of one of the Hammarskjold Memorial Lectures, 1967, delivered by Professor Stone at the University of Washington on May 2, 1967.]

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