Practice

International Court of Justice

Navigating the complexities of the World Court with success

We have unparalleled experience litigating before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and an extraordinary track-record of success in high-stakes matters of geopolitical concern. We were the first firm to establish a practice before the ICJ and have continued to maintain our dominant position among the select group of firms with deep knowledge of the intricacies of the Court. Our practice boasts by far the most inter-State cases of any firm, and Chambers and Partners has ranked our team in Band 1 in the Public International Law category for 11 years in a row.

The breadth of Foley Hoag's current expertise in State-to-State litigation is evident from the most recent case docket of the ICJ: we are counsel in nearly half of the cases now pending before the World Court. Our success stems from our attorney’s ability to combine legal argumentation of the highest caliber with a unique capacity to investigate, assemble, organize, and present factual evidence, including expert and witness testimony, in support of our sovereign clients’ claims and defenses.
 

Areas of Focus

Our lawyers have handled cases before the ICJ covering a wide variety of subjects including:
 
  • Use of force
  • Transboundary environmental harm
  • International aviation
  • Navigational rights and international watercourses
  • Delimitation of maritime boundaries
  • Territorial sovereignty
  • Racial discrimination
  • International human rights and humanitarian law
  • Law of treaties and treaty interpretation
  • Diplomatic protection and immunity

Experience

Our attorneys have represented and continue to represent sovereign States before the ICJ in the following cases, among others:

  • Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar). We represent the Republic of The Gambia in a lawsuit under the Genocide Convention seeking to hold Myanmar accountable under international law for genocide against the Rohingya. We secured a unanimous provisional measures order against Myanmar.
  • Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Azerbaijan v. Armenia and Armenia v. Azerbaijan). We represent Armenia in proceedings arising from allegations of breach of the CERD. We secured critical victories for Armenia on the Parties’ requests for provisional measures.
  • The State of Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (2017) – Application (A); and, the State of Qatar and the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (2017) – Application (B). We successfully represented the State of Qatar in proceedings before the ICJ brought by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE against decisions on the jurisdiction of the ICAO Council to hear a complaint by Qatar arising under the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the International Air Services Transit Agreement. 
  • Land and Maritime Delimitation and Sovereignty over Islands (Gabon/Equatorial Guinea). We represent the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in a dispute with Gabon regarding the maritime boundary, the land boundary and sovereignty over islands. 
  • Guyana v. Venezuela (Case Concerning the Arbitral Award of 3 October 1899). We represent Guyana in a case brought to confirm the international boundary between the two States as determined by an arbitral award whose validity Venezuela has challenged.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia (Case Concerning Territorial and Maritime Dispute). We successfully represented Nicaragua in this case to delimit maritime boundaries in the western Caribbean Sea. Nicaragua achieved a major victory over Colombia, obtaining access to the full extent of its 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, which Colombia sought to cut off at 70 nautical miles, and more than 75% of the waters claimed by both States in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Argentina v. Uruguay (Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the Uruguay River). We successfully represented Uruguay in this proceeding, defending its right to sustainable development through the construction of a paper pulp mill by showing that the mill satisfied the highest environmental standards. The Court rejected Argentina’s request to shut down the plant based on unproven allegations of harm to the river shared by the two States.

People

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Get to know the attorneys in our International Court of Justice practice.

Diem Huong Ho

International Associate

Washington, DC

202.223.7307

Juan Pablo Hugues

International Associate

Washington, DC

202-394-6572