The State’s Agent before The ICJ: From Competent Authority to Declaration of a Commitment to Ultra Virus Acts

Document Type : Research Paper


. PhD in International International Law, University of Tehran


The international case law and doctrine clearly show that the Agent of State before the ICJ in specific case, beyond the defending of positions and views of the respective State, has authority to accept an obligation on behalf of such State during the ICJ’s proceedings.  Therefore, the Agent must be placed in the ranks of the competent persons and authorities to declare the commitment on the behalf of the States. The Agent like any competent authority to declare an obligation may commit Ultra Virus acts or accepting any obligation contrary to internal law of appointing State. There is no case law or even a specific doctrine on the legal effects of such an obligation but on the one hand, given the important role that the Agent plays in the legal management of a State before the Court and on the other hand, given the authority to make a commitment to the relevant State, it is necessary to determine the legal implications of the statements beyond the authority of the Agent. This article reviews the jurisprudence and the doctrine which confirm the competence of Agent to accept a new commitment, and seeks to answer the question of how and under what mechanism States can invoke for invalidating the statements of their Agents before the Court. This article concludes that in some cases, declaring the invalidity of agent’s statements is urgent, and in other cases a specific time can be set.


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