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Case Concerning the Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia)
International Court of Justice
1997 I.C.J. 7
Hungary (defendant) and Czechoslovakia (plaintiff) agreed in a 1977 treaty to build and operate together two dams on the Danube River at Gabcikovo, Czechoslovakia and Nagymaros, Hungary. Additionally, the treaty required the countries to consider developing international environmental standards as the implementation of the project progressed. During construction, Hungary requested that the project move more slowly, but later asked that the project be sped up. Thereafter, in 1992, Hungary completely abandoned construction of the Nagymaros dam, seeking to terminate the treaty. Czechoslovakia, soon to be Slovakia, did not accept Hungary’s attempt to terminate the treaty, instead revising the plans and continuing the Gabcikovo site construction. This new plan, dubbed Variant C, rerouted a large portion of the river away from the border between the two nations. Hungary and Slovakia agreed to bring the dispute relating to the dam project before the International Court of Justice. Hungary argued that a state of ecological necessity required Hungary to abandon the dam project because of the significant threats to marine life the project posed. Hungary also contended that Variant C significantly cut off water supply to Hungary’s capital city and further threatened aquatic life in the river.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
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