Examples Of The International Court Of Justice And The International Court Of Arbitration Decisions Supporting The Exclusive Economic Zone Agreement Signed Between Turkey And Libya

Assoc. Prof. Cihat Yaycı




Romania and Ukraine applied to the International Court Of Justice (ICJ) in order to end the dispute on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas between the two states.


In its judgement the ICJ decided that ‘the Serpent” Island cannot generate maritime zones beyond its territorial waters breadth in the delimitation of continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).





Eritrea AND Yemen applied to the ICC on the dispute over the sovereignty of some islands, islets and rocks in the red sea.


In its judgement the ICC decided that the mentioned islands cannot generate maritime zones beyond territorial waters breadth in delimitation and those islands were ignored in drawing of the equidistance line between the two states.





Distance was accepted as a factor in determining the breadth of the continental shelf and the issue of delimitation line to limit or prevent the open sea access of the coastal state has occurred.


In the decision of the ICJ in this case, it is emphasized that the cut off the states’ maritime jurisdiction areas, which is a complementary part of its mainland, by other states’ maritime areas is inconsistent with the equitability principle.


In this context, ICJ did not give maritime areas extending southwest to the French Islands off the coast of Canada. In its justification, ICJ states that such situation leads French Islands up to cut off Canadian Shores’ maritime areas.


In its judgement the court decided not to assign full effect to the French Islands of the coast of Canada as mainlands.






Libya and Malta, applied to the ICJ in order to end the dispute between two states on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas. In this case, Malta claimed that the equidistance line should be considered on the delimitation. Libya claimed that Malta should be given less maritime jurisdiction areas as Malta is an island state.


In its judgement the court decided to allocate smaller maritime jurisdiction area than claimed by Malta in accordance with the principle of equitability and corrected the median line in favor of Libya, a coastal state, by shifting the median line 18 nm north towards Malta.






During this case Holland and Denmark claimed that the equidistance method should be considered and Germany claimed that the dispute should be solved in accordance with the application of equitable principles since equidistance method could not provide equitable solution over the dispute. Furthermore, Germany claims that its mainland should not be cut off.


In its judgement the court stated that the application of the principle of equidistance was not an obligation and additionally, reshaping of the geography was not possible.


Finally, Germany has been allocated more maritime jurisdiction areas than claimed by Holland and Denmark.





France claimed that Art.6 in 1958 Continental Shelf Convention could not be considered owing to France’s restrictions in the English Channel sector, and additional claims stating that the shore is neither opposite nor adjacent in the Atlantic sector. France also claimed that the natural prolongation, as far as applicable, should be considered for delimitation.

UK claimed that the principle of equidistance should be considered for the delimitation. Arbiters decided to implement customary law in the sector of English Channel where France restrictions were in effect and Art. 6 in the Atlantic Sector. While determining the procedure, arbiters also stated that the special circumstances in Art. 6 were not exemptions and this article would be implemented as a combination of equidistance or special circumstances.

In its judgement the Court decided that the islands, possessed by UK, on the other side of the mid-channel median line, should be accepted as the maritime jurisdiction areas not more than their territorial waters.





Both states claimed that the natural prolongation should be considered for the delimitation. But Libya claimed that natural prolongation of land mass, while Tunisia claimed coastal state’s natural prolongation.


In its judgement the court decided to draw a line, perpendicular to the shore line while determining the maritime borders of these states which were adjacent maritime borders. As a second sector off the coast, another line that breaks toward the Libya was drawn and this line was assigned as the continental shelf border. For this second line Kerkennah Island was taken into account for the assignment.


Court decided to give half effect to the Kerkennah Island and no effect was given to the Cerbe Island so that parallel structure of the off the coast line could be provided.