HC Deb 07 April 1948 vol 449 cc145-6
14. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs when the Hague Court will begin the hearing of the substantive case arising out of the murder of 44 British seamen in the Corfu Channel.

Mr. Bevin

On 25th March the International Court rejected the Albanian Government's "preliminary" objection on the jurisdictional case, and fixed the following time limits for the filing of subsequent written pleadings:

  1. (1) for the counter memorial of the Albanian Government, 15th June, 1948;
  2. (2) for the reply of the United Kingdom Government, 2nd August, 1943;
  3. (3) for the rejoinder of the Albanian Government, 20th September, 1948.
Once these written pleadings have been submitted the Court will make an order for the date of the oral hearings.

Mr. Lipson

Can anything be done to speed up the hearing of these matters by the International Court, because the period of long delay which elapses between the actual event and the hearing tends to bring the Court into disrepute as a means of settling international disputes?

Mr. Bevin

I have a good deal of sympathy with that supplementary question, and when the United Nations consider the proceedings of the International Court that matter ought to be taken into account. The International Court acting promptly and in a businesslike way is one of the greatest safeguards for peace, but, as the hon. Member says, this long delay is very disquieting.