Citation. I.C.J. 1974 I.C.J. 253, 457
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Brief Fact Summary.
Australia and New Zealand (P) requested France (D) to put an halt to atmospheric nuclear test in the South Pacific.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
Declaration made through unilateral acts may have the effect of creating legal obligations.
A series of nuclear tests was completed by France (D) in the South Pacific. This action made Australia and New Zealand (P) to apply to the I.C.J. demanding that France (D) cease testing immediately. Before the case could be completed, France (D) announced it had completed the test and did not plan any further test. So France (D) moved for the dismissal of the application.
May declaration made through unilateral act has effect of creating legal obligations?
Yes. Declaration made through unilateral acts may have the effect of creating legal obligations. In this case, the statement made by the President of France must be held to constitute an engagement of the State in regard to the circumstances and intention with which they were made. Therefore, these statement made by the France (D) are relevant and legally binding. Application was dismissed.
The unilateral statements made by French authorities were first relayed to the government of Australia. There was no need for the statements to be directed to any particular state for it to have legal effect. The general nature and characteristics of the statements alone were relevant for evaluation of their legal implications.