A United Nations Trust Fund has awarded the African nations of Benin and Niger $350,000 each to help defray the costs of settling their border dispute at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The two countries went to the Court in May, 2002 asking that it determine the course of the boundary between them in the River Niger. They want the ICJ to spell out which State owns each of the islands in that river, particularly Lété Island. They are also seeking a determination on the boundary between Benin and Niger in the River Mekrou.
The Trust Fund, which was set up in 1989 specifically to encourage States to take their disputes to the ICJ, has so far made grants to six countries.
Taking a case to the ICJ can be especially expensive for poorer countries. The trust fund grants are made on the condition that the money is strictly used to defray those expenses incurred.
The grants follow the recommendation of a three-member Panel of Experts – comprising the Ambassadors of Jordan, Mauritius and Singapore – to approve the applications of Benin and Niger.