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Gabčíkovo -Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia)
International Court of Justice
1997 I.C.J. 7
In 1977, Hungary and Czechoslovakia entered into a treaty to build and operate various structures (a reservoir, dam, bypass canal, hydroelectric power plants, and navigational and flood control improvements) on the Danube River, their shared border. Construction began in 1978 but was not completed. In 1989, both countries experienced major political and economic changes. New political leadership in both countries expressed concerns over going through with the projects for environmental and economic reasons. Hungary first suspended its share of the project in 1989 and later abandoned it. Czechoslovakia began work in 1991 on a new version of the plan. However, in 1993, Czechoslovakia dissolved into two states, and Slovakia became independent. Hungary and Slovakia submitted a dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and requested the court to determine on the basis of international law whether Hungary was entitled to suspend and then abandon its part of the Danube project. Hungary argued it was entitled to suspend and abandon due to changed circumstances and impossibility of performance.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
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