094- Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria (Cameroon vs Nigeria)
On March 29th, 1994, Cameroon filed before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) an application instituting proceedings against Nigeria, relating to the disputed sovereignty of the Bakassi peninsula and more generally to the delimitation of the maritime frontier between the two countries. Cameroon alleged violations of conventional and customary international law committed by Nigeria. A few months later, the applicant state wished to amend its initial petition so that the ICJ could rule on the delimitation of the border between Cameroon and Nigeria from Lake Chad to the sea. The respondent state, for its part, raised preliminary exceptions regarding the jurisdiction of the Court.
Following exchanges between the armed forces of the two countries, Cameroon requested on February 12th, 1996 that the Court indicate provisional measures tending to put an end to the various aggressions. The ICJ issued an order on March 15th, 1996, ordering the cessation of hostilities between the parties.
The preliminary objections raised by Nigeria were examined by the Court, which, eventually, rejected them and declared Cameroon’s request admissible.
Nigeria subsequently filed counterclaims against Cameroon. The Court, in its order of June 30th, 1999, allowed these requests to be admitted to the proceedings.
On the same June 30th, 1999, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea filed an Application to intervene under Article 62 of the Statute of the Court. In its order of October 21th, 1999, the Court authorized Guinea to intervene in the proceedings by filing its conclusions within the prescribed time limit.
The ICJ finally ruled on the merits of the case in its judgment dated October 10th, 2002:
- In the Lake Chad area, the Court decided that the boundary was delimited by the Thomson-Marchand Declaration of 1929-1930 that was still valid;
- Between Lake Chad and the Bakassi Peninsula, the Court demarcated the border at 17 specific points along the contested border;
- In Bakassi, the Court decided that the boundary was delimited by the Anglo-German Agreement of 11 March 1913 (Arts. XVIII-XX) and that sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula lay with Cameroon;
- As regards to the maritime boundary, the Court first affirmed its jurisdiction to hear this aspect of the case, fixed the line of the boundary of the maritime zones of the two States.
The Court ordered each of the states to withdraw their forces and administrations from areas where they were now found to have no sovereignty.
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.