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World Court to hear more cases next year

Written by: Staff

AMSTERDAM, Oct 27 (Reuters) The United Nations' highest court aims to handle more cases next year, with more than one under way at any one time, its president said, as international courts face pressure to work faster.

The president of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Rosalyn Higgins, told the UN General Assembly late yesterday the court had agreed a full schedule of hearings and deliberations in 2007 in order to find a solution for those who turn to the court ''in a timely fashion''.

The Hague-based ICJ or World Court, was set up in 1946 to resolve disputes between states. Its rulings are final and cannot be appealed. The Hague is also home to the UN tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the new International Criminal Court, both dealing with war crimes cases against individuals.

The death in custody of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in March just months before a verdict was due in his marathon trial on genocide charges in The Hague highlighted how long it can take to conclude complex cases.

Between August 2005 and July 2006 the ICJ delivered two judgements -- ruling that Uganda had violated the sovereignty of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and was responsible for human rights abuses there, and rejecting a bid by Argentina to order Uruguay to stop building two giant pulp mills.

Higgins said the court had 13 cases pending, including a high-profile case brought by Bosnia alleging genocide by Serbia that took more than a decade to come to court.


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