Chair: Jacob Mesina
Secretary: Haley Byrd
In an era rife with enigmatic ethics and paltry politics, a voice like the ICJ is a necessity. Maybe you are interested in a country’s karma. Perhaps you ponder the intersection of international logistics and interesting law. You could just enjoy alliterations, acronyms, and other forms of wordplay. Whatever the case, ICJ is open to anyone willing to make the world right, be it through solving territorial disputes or deciding on the payment of reparations. Our organization not only stands for truth; we decide truth.
Whew, that was boring. What I really wanted to say was ICJ was lit. And trust me, it will be. We arrest people! Arrest people! And punish them! We’ve had nations write love poems for threatening to nuke Canada. ICJ has made delegates dance to boy band classics. I’ve been a part of this committee for the past three years, and each annual LIMUN conference has truly grown in strides. This year will be no different. We’re gonna decide cases and take names like there’s no tomorrow, and on the final day when we stroll into the awards ceremony, everyone will recognize our judicial swagger.
1. Bolivia v. Chile
A common point of contention among nations is a dispute over territory, be it land or sea. This case concerns a landlocked nation’s (Bolivia’s) access to the sea. Chile stands between Bolivia and the Pacific Ocean; this is due to Bolivia losing valuable territory during the War of the Pacific. The 1904 Treaty of Peace and Friendship gave Chile a border on the water, but Bolivia was to be given commercial transit to various coastal Chilean ports, i.e. Arica and Antofagasta. Bolivia argues that as a century has passed, new negotiations on sovereign access are now necessary, and it believes Chile recognizes and has an obligation to attend to this necessity. Chile denies this. Your job as a justice is to determine whether or not Chile needs to come to court to renegotiate Bolivian access to the Pacific. If you choose to do so, you must also decide if Bolivia should receive the sovereign access it requests. Take into consideration international law as well as the historical relationship between these two nations. If you decide, and if you provide enough reasoning for jurisdiction, then you can even choose to reassign borders. Consider previous cases over maritime and land borders, such as Kenya v Somalia, Nicaragua v Costa Rica, or Cambodia v Thailand.
2. Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda
The relationship between the DRC and Uganda is tainted by violent skirmishes and deadly wars. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was originally named Zaire before it was invaded by the Rwandan military and had its government replaced in the First Congo War. Uganda allegedly supported this Rwandan military advance. Because of the unorganized nature of its establishment, the DRC underwent the Second Congo War. Uganda also allegedly supported this conflict by sending in armed troops. As a result, the DRC eventually filed a lawsuit against Uganda, claiming that the “acts of armed aggression perpetrated by Uganda on the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter and of the Charter of the Organization of African Unity.” The goal of the ICJ is to determine whether or not there has been a violation. If there has been a violation, the ICJ may also determine what appropriate reparations must be paid by Uganda to the DRC. Keep in mind that the International Monetary Fund is actually providing Uganda funds in order to repay various other war debts, which some have taken as a sign that the IMF is working against the ICJ or that the ICJ may be wrong in entertaining this case. Also consider precedence set by other trials concerning wartime reparations, such as Croatia v Serbia. Also consider precedence set by trials concerning military presence in other nations, including the aforementioned Nicaragua v Costa Rica or Cambodia v Thailand.
3. Catalonia v Spain
This topic is unique in that there hasn’t been an official Catalonia v Spain case brought to court, meaning it will be tough to pull from experience. In this hypothetical (but very related to real events) situation, the state of Catalonia has asked the International Court of Justice to allow it to secede from the the nation of Spain. The state of Catalonia has also accused Spain of committing crimes against humanity through prevention of democracy (Spanish police have been barring Catalonians from voting on a referendum on the topic of secession) Catalonia already has special autonomy from the federal government in Madrid that other regions of Spain do not already have, with powers of health, education, and security going to the regional government called the Generalitat. Historically torn between wars of France and Spain, Catalonia recently has sought to be recognized as an independent state by the European Union. In 2014, after the Scottish referendum, the Generalitat held a poll asking its citizens whether or not they backed succession; an overwhelming majority said yes. In October 2017, the Generalitat found after their own, non-federally backed referendum that the majority of citizens again wanted succession. It is your task to determine whether or not Catalonia’s calls for independence are fair, and whether or not Catalonia is in fact its own state. From then on you must decide whether or not Spain has committed crimes against Catalonia by attempting to stop the vote. Consider the International Court of Justice’s advisory opinion on Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence when doing your research.