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Volkan Bozkir (General Assembly President) at General Assembly: 19th plenary meeting, 75th session
2 Nov 2020 -  Your Excellency, Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President of the International Court of Justice, Distinguished delegates,
As we reflect on the 75 years of the United Nations, I would like to recognize the significant role the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has played, including through its contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security, by settling disputes peacefully, and strengthening the international rule of law.
The Court is the only principle organ of the United Nations that is not based here in New York. The physical distance between the General Assembly and the Court has been overcome by solid exchanges throughout the years, including the ICJ report that has been submitted to the General Assembly since 1968.
A founding principle of the UN is to ‘prevent succeeding generations from the scourge of war’, including through the peaceful settlements of disputes. The Court has played a crucial role in this area.
Since 1945, the increasing number and breadth of dispute submissions from Member States from around the world, including throughout this period under review, clearly demonstrates the trust that Member States have in the Court to settle, in accordance with international law, the legal disputes submitted to it.
I warmly welcome the Court’s continued operation throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring continuity of its mandates and discharge of its judicial functions.
Respect for the Court’s decisions, judgments and advisory opinions is critical to uphold the Charter and international law, and to consolidate the success of the international justice system built after the second world war.
Currently, 74 states have made a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the Court as compulsory. Through its resolutions, the General Assembly has repeatedly encouraged States that have not yet done so to consider accepting the jurisdiction of the Court in accordance with its Statute.
In addition to supporting the maintenance of international peace and security, the Court’s judgements and advisory opinions contribute to the development and clarification of international law and reinforce the rule of law across the world. The impact of the Court on the progressive development of international law cannot be understated, particularly through its efforts to develop a greater understanding of rules and principles at various levels.
Distinguished delegates,
This year, the General Assembly and Security Council will elect five Judges to the Court. It is important that, despite the challenges that we still face regarding in-person meetings here in New York, we find solutions so the election is not delayed. As President of the General Assembly I am collaborating with the Security Council and Secretariat towards that end.
Strengthening the role of multilateralism is a priority for me this session and the international legal order underpins the multilateral system.
Therefore, I pledge my strong support to the International Court of Justice, as part of the international legal order, this session. My team and I stand ready to work closely with you all in this regard.
Thank you.