Washington University Law Review Volume 1967 | Issue 2 January 1967 The South West Africa Cases Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Comparative and Foreign Law Commons This Note is brought to you for free and open access by the Law School at Washington University Open Scholarship. It has been accepted for inclusion in Washington University Law Review by an authorized administrator of Washington University Open Scholarship. For more information, please contact [email protected] . Recommended Citation The South West Africa Cases , 1967 Wash. U. L. Q. 159 (1967). Available at:
THE SOUTH WEST AFRICA CASES On November 4, 1960, the governments of Ethiopia and Liberia' insti- tuted proceedings in the International Court of Justice against the South African government 3 alleging inter alia that South Africa's apartheid policy' violated certain articles of the League of Nations Mandate for South West Africa and Article 22 of the Covenant of the League. In its judgment of December 21, 1962, the Court dismissed the jurisdictional objections and found that it was competent to hear the case on the merits. However, after hearing arguments, the Court on July 18, 1966, surprisingly dismissed the case on the grounds that the Applicants lacked standing to raise the issues because they possessed no legal right or interest in the subject matter of their claims. This note is an analysis of the major issues raised by this litigation. To introduce the analysis, the first section of the note briefly reviews the history of the South West African Mandate prior to the initiation of the suit. The preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court raised by South Africa are discussed in the second section. The reasons for the dis- missal are examined in detail in the third section. The last section is con- cerned with the two substantive issues, dealt with as dicta in the 1966 de- cision, raised by the litigation: whether South Africa's apartheid policy violates "standards" of conduct for mandated nations; and to what extent may the Court rely upon any international "norm" which can be inter- preted as prohibiting all governments from discriminating against its sub- jects on the basis of race or group membership. I. HISTORY OF SOUTH WEST AFRICA A. Under the League of Nations The geographic area known as South West Africa was originally colonized by Germany in the late nineteenth century. During and after World War I, the Union of South Africa sought to gain exclusive control over the Ger- man colony. During the war, some of the Allied governments secretly agreed that claims to occupied German territory would be recognized in the event of an Allied victory.' Though indorsed by the British War Cabi- 1. Hereinafter referred to as Applicants.