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    Judgment - Assessment of the amount of compensation due from the People's Republic of Albania to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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    By a Judgment delivered on April 9th, 1949, in the Corfu Channel case (merits), the Court declared the People’s Republic of Albania responsible under international law for the explosions which occurred on October 22nd, 1946, in Albanian waters, and for the damage and loss of human life that resulted therefrom to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (I.C.J. Reports 1949, p. 4).

    In that judgment the Court decided that it had jurisdiction to assess the amount of compensation but stated that it could not do so in the same judgment, as the Albanian Government had not yet stated which items, if any, of the various sums claimed it contested, and as the United Kingdom Government had not submitted its evidence with regard thereto. The Court therefore stated that further proceedings on this subject were necessary and that the order and time-limits of these proceedings would be fixed by an order of the same date.

    In this order, the Court, after noting that the Government of the United Kingdom had stated, in its Memorial of October 1st, 1947, the various amounts claimed by way of compensation, and after reserving the right of the Parties to avail themselves of the provisions of Article 68 of the Rules of Court, fixed, in accordance with Article 48 of the Statute, the following time-limits : June 25th, 1949, for the observations of the Albanian Government ; July 25th,

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    1949, for the reply of the United Kingdom Government, and August 25th, 1949, for the reply of the Albanian Government. Finally, the Court directed that further procedure, including the appointment of experts in case of agreement being reached by the Parties both as to the subject of the experts’ opinion and as to the names of the experts, should be regulated by order of the President of the Court in this case.

    On 24 June 1949, the President of the Court made an order in which it was stated that by telegram, dated at Tirana, June 23rd, 1949, the Deputy-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania had asked for the extension of the time-limit for the presentation of the Albanian observations to July 1st, 1949, and that there was no reason for refusing that request. The President accordingly decided to extend the time-limits fixed by the Order of the Court of April 9th as follows : July 1st, 1949, for the observations of the Albanian Government ; August 1st for the reply of the Government of the United Kingdom ; September 1st for the reply of the Albanian Government.

    In a letter dated June 29th, 1949, the Agent for the Albanian Government informed the Court that, in the opinion of his Government : "in accordance with the Special Agreement signed between the Agents of the People’s Republic of Albania and of Great Britain, on March 25th, 1948, and presented to the Court on the same day, the Court had solely to consider the question whether Albania was, or was not, obliged to pay compensation for the damage caused to the British warships in the incident of October 22nd, 1946, and the Special Agreement did not provide that the Court should have the right to fix the amount of the compensation and, consequently, to ask Albania for information on that subject".

    The United Kingdom Government filed its observations within the time fixed and invoked Article 53 of the Statute. The Albanian Government filed no reply or other document. The case became ready for hearing after September 1st, 1949, and the date of the commencement of the hearing was fixed for November 17th.

    In a telegram dated November 15th, the Deputy-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania reasserted the opinion expressed in the Albanian Agent’s letter of June 29th, and stated that the Albanian Government did not consider it necessary to be represented at the hearing.

    At the public hearing on November 17th, the Court heard statements by Sir Eric Beckett, K.C., Agent, and Sir Frank Soskice, K.C., Counsel for the United Kingdom. The latter asked the Court to give judgment that the amount of compensation due was the

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    amount stated in the final submissions contained in the written Observations of the United Kingdom dated July 28th, 1949, namely :

    in respect of H.M.S. Saumarez... £ 700,087

    in respect of H.M.S. Volage..... £ 93,812

    in respect of deaths and injuries of naval personnel.£ 50,048

    Total..... £843,9 47

    The Albanian Government was absent and made no submissions.

    At the same sitting, after the Agent for the United Kingdom Government had been heard, the President announced that the Court had decided, in pursuance of paragraph 2 of Article 53 of the Statute, to examine the figures and estimates submitted by the United Kingdom Government, and, in conformity with Article 50 of the Statute, to. entrust this investigation to experts as it involved questions of a technical nature.

    In an Order dated November 19th, 1949, the Court appointed as experts Rear-Admiral J. B. Berck, of the Royal Netherlands Navy, and Mr. G. de Rooy, Director of Naval Construction, Royal Netherlands Navy, with instructions to "examine the figures and estimates stated in the last submissions filed by the Government of the United Kingdom regarding the amount of its claim for the loss of the Saumarez and the damage caused to the Volage". The Court fixed December 2nd as the time-limit for the filing of the experts’ Report. This document was filed within the time fixed, and duly communicated to the Parties. A time-limit expiring on December 10th was given them for the submission of observations.

    As some members of the Court had asked for certain explanations in regard to the Report, the experts, summoned to a meeting of the Court, replied on December 3rd to questions put to them. These replies were immediately communicated to the Parties.

    The United Kingdom Government, by telegram dated December 6th, 1949, and confirmed by a letter of the same date, stated that it noted that the experts had come to the conclusion that the claim submitted by that Government might be taken as a fair and accurate estimate of the damage sustained and did not therefore wish to make any observations on the particular calculations of the experts.

    On the expiry of the time-limit granted to the Parties for the submission of their written observations, a letter signed by

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    This expenditure has been proved to the satisfaction of the Court by the documents produced by the United Kingdom Government as Annexes 12 and 13 to its Memorial, and by the supplementary information and corrections made thereto in Appendices I, II and III of that Government’s Observations of July 28th, 1949.

    Finally, the Court points out that the United Kingdom Government, in paragraph 6 of its written Observations of July 28th, 1949, mentioned certain damage, for which it expressly stated that it did not ask for compensation. The Court need therefore express no view on this subject.

    For these reasons,

    The court,

    by twelve votes to two,

    Gives judgment in favour of the claim of the Government of the United Kingdom, and

    Fixes the amount of compensation due from the People’s Republic of Albania to the United Kingdom at £ 843,947.

    Done in French and English, the French text being authoritative, at the Peace Palace, The Hague, this fifteenth day of December, one thousand nine hundred and forty-nine, in three copies, one of which will be placed in the archives of the Court and the others transmitted to the Governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of the People’s Republic of Albania respectively.

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