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North Sea Continental Shelf Cases (Federal Republic of Germany v. Denmark; Federal Republic of Germany v. Netherlands)
International Court of Justice
1969 I.C.J. 3 (Feb. 20) (Summary of the Decision) (1969)
Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany all had a dispute over the boundaries of a shared continental shelf. Denmark and the Netherlands both argued that the dispute should be resolved according to principles of Article 6 of the Geneva Convention of 1958 on the Continental Shelf, which provided that in the absence of agreement or special circumstances, a boundary line should be determined by application of the “principle of equidistance.” Germany was not a party to this Convention, but Denmark and the Netherlands argued that the principle of equidistance still applied because it was part of general international law, and particularly customary international law.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
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