WHAT IS THIS CAMPAIGN ABOUT?


PISFCC is asking Pacific Island Forum leaders to urgently commence the process of seeking an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the issue of human rights and climate change. 

PISFCC wants Pacific Island Forum leaders to decide to do this at the 2019 meeting in Tuvalu. The PIF meeting commences on August 12.

PISFCC wrote to all Pacific Island Forum leaders in June 2019, explaining and justifying our request. 

 

READ OUR LETTERS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS here

SIGN OUR PETITION here

WHY ASK PIF LEADERS TO SEEK AN ICJ ADVISORY OPINION ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

We are not alone: eminent legal experts have recently written and spoken in support of seeking the ICJ’s opinion.  Benefits that will flow from an ICJ advisory opinion on human rights and climate change include:

  • Cementing consensus on the scientific evidence of climate change;

  • Providing impetus for more ambitious action under the Paris Agreement;

  • Integrating areas of international law that are currently separate, such as human rights law and environmental law;

  • Providing authoritative baselines for state action on mitigation and international cooperation and assistance; and

  • Providing impetus and guidance for domestic, regional and international adjudications.

 

WHAT IS THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE?

The International Court of Justice, or ICJ, is the highest court in the international legal system. The ICJ was established under the Charter of the United Nations. The ICJ has two kinds of jurisdiction: contentious and advisory. 

Contentious ICJ cases are brought by national governments in order to settle disputes between nations. 

Advisory proceedings in the ICJ are occasionally requested by organs of the United Nations in order to develop and clarify specific matters of international law.


WHAT EXACTLY IS AN ICJ ADVISORY OPINION?

The UN General Assembly and the Security Council may request an ICJ advisory opinion on “any legal question” while other UN organs and agencies may request an advisory opinion on “legal questions arising within their scope of activities”. Individual countries cannot request an advisory opinion from the ICJ directly.

Unlike judgments of the ICJ in contentious proceedings, advisory opinions are not binding at law. Nonetheless, due to the status of the ICJ as the highest court in the world they “carry great legal weight and moral authority. They are often an instrument of preventive diplomacy and help to keep the peace. In their own way, advisory opinions also contribute to the clarification and development of international law and thereby to the strengthening of peaceful relations between states.” (Professor Philip Sands QC, 2015).

Read all of our campaign documents