UN World Court decides Niger, Benin border dispute

13 July 2005

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the United Nations' principal judicial organ for settling disputes between States – has awarded Niger 16 islands at the centre of a four-decade border dispute with Benin. It awarded Benin ownership of the remaining nine, and delineated the boundaries between the two countries in the River Niger and the River Mekrou.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the United Nations' principal judicial organ for settling disputes between States – has awarded Niger 15 islands at the centre of a four-decade border dispute with Benin. It awarded Benin ownership of the remaining nine, and delineated the boundaries between the two countries in the River Niger and the River Mekrou.

The border has been contested and the scene of sporadic clashes since 1960, when both Niger and Benin won independence from France. Significantly, the ICJ yesterday ruled that the biggest island, Lete, along with 15 other smaller islands, belonged to Niger.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan took note of the judgment in a statement issued by his spokesman in New York, which commended the two countries for resorting to the ICJ for a peaceful settlement of their border dispute.

"He notes with satisfaction their reaffirmation that they will respect and implement the judgment of the Court," the statement said.

 

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