South West Africa and the international court: Two viewpoints on the 1971 advisory opinion

This document concerns the 1971 Advisory Proceedings on South West Africa in the International Court. The Court proceedings derived from political disputes at the United Nations. Arguments against South Africa were based on an anti-colonial campaign at the UN. The South Africans replied that such an approach denied the essential disciplines of the judicial process. The reasoning of judges who gave judgements or opinions unfavourable to South Africa was attacked by colleagues as based on unwarranted assumptions. The litigation on South West Africa is said to have put the International Court itself on trial. Whether the Advisory Opinion of the World Court of 1971 proposes a legally sound and realistic solution to the South West Africa problem, and whether it indicates the means whereby the progress of the inhabitants of the Territory can best be promoted are vital questions both for the United Nations and for South Africa. It is in the above context that Mr. Grosskopf and Prof. Dugard debate the performance of the majority of the Court in the Advisory Proceedings of 1971. Prof. Dugard argues that the judges applied a perfectly legitimate legal approach and philosophy, while Mr. Grosskopf differs strongly.