IJ №2 (10) 2014
Territorial delimitation in West Africa: Judgment of the International Court of Justice dated 16 April 2013 in the case Concerning the frontier dispute (Burkina Faso/Niger)


In its Judgment of 16 April 2013 the International Court of Justice had to determine the line of the boundary in dispute between Burkina Faso and Niger. For this purpose it applied the principle of intangibility of boundaries inherited from colonization as well as the Agreement between the two Parties of 28 March 1987 which provided practical indications as to how to give effect to this principle. In particular, the Agreement prescribed the application of an Arrêté (order) issued by the Governor-General ad interim of French West Africa and, should it prove insufficient, a 1:200,000-scale map of the French Institut géographique national. The Court did not however place on record in the operative part of its Judgment the Parties’ agreement relating to the northern and southern sectors of the boundary, as requested by Burkina Faso. It considered that such a request was not compatible with its judicial function which is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it.

Issue articles