The Issues of Admissibility Pertaining to Circumstantial, Contested, Classified, and Illicitly Obtained Evidence in the International Court of Justice

Posted on Posted in Law Review

by Shayan Ahmed Khan

The International Court of Justice (ICJ or ‘the Court’) has generally had a liberal stance towards the admissibility of evidence and indeed in most of the instances the Court accepts evidence submitted by parties. However, when it comes to evidence, which is circumstantial, classified, or illicitly obtained, the Court has deviated from the general rule. This note looks at case law on these issues with specific focus on certain issues (e.g. the Court’s treatment of press reports, public knowledge, maps, and the weight accorded to them etc.). This note also discusses the significance of Wikileaks and the likely outcome if a party was to ever present evidence from Wikileaks before the Court. It concludes that as a general rule, the ICJ will admit any and all evidence which is relevant and helps the Court in finding a just solution to the case. However, even if the evidence is held admissible, it is the Court that will accord weight to it and it will thus be at the discretion of the Court to treat it as primary or secondary evidence.

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