083- Territorial Dispute between Libya and Chad (Libya vs Chad)
On August 31st, 1990, Libya and Chad submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) an agreement concluded between the two parties on August 31st, 1989, in which they agreed to submit their territorial dispute to the Court in the event that they were unable to reach an agreement. In the alternative, Chad had also based the Court’s jurisdiction on the Franco-Libyan Treaty of Friendship and Good Neighbourliness of 10 August 1955 (1955 Treaty).
Libya claimed that there was no border between the two territories and asked the Court to determine it. Chad, for its part, considered that there was a border and asked the ICJ to say what that border was.
The ICJ delivered its judgment on the merits of the case on February 3rd, 1994. It noted that both States recognized the validity of the 1955 Treaty, which dealt with the question of borders in its Article 3 and Annex I by listing a number of international acts that drew the boundary between Libya and French Equatorial Africa. In the Court’s view, it was apparent from the terms of the treaty that the Parties recognized that all the boundaries between their respective territories resulted from the combined effect of all the acts defined in Annex I. However, nothing prevented the parties to the treaty from deciding by mutual agreement to consider a certain line as a border, regardless of its previous status. If it was already a border, it was simply confirmed.
After careful consideration of the documents listed in Annex I, the Court defined the route of what would be the border, which had also been treated as such by both countries. Referring finally to the provision of the 1955 Treaty stating that it had been concluded for a period of twenty years, and that it could be terminated unilaterally, the Court affirmed that the treaty should be regarded as having established a permanent border, and observed that where a border has been the subject of an agreement, its continued existence does not depend on the survival of the treaty by which that border was agreed.
This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.