CAIRO – 29 September 2021: Thirty three years have passed since the International Court of Justice ruled that Taba belongs to Egyptian territories.
After pleadings that lasted for 3 weeks, this historical ruling came on September 29, 1988, inside the Great Council Hall at the official headquarters of the Geneva Provincial Government, in the presence of the secretaries of the two governments, and their members of the defense.
A majority of 4 votes came in favor of the ruling, while only Israel objected, and the judgment was signed on 230 pages.
In the following lines, ET reviews the most important points in this historical ruling.
The battle for Taba occurred in October 1981 during the meeting between Egypt and Israel to activate the withdrawal of the Israeli army from Sinai.
At the meeting, the two sides agreed on all border signs except for the 91st mark for the city of Taba. The Israeli delegation refused to completely implement the withdrawal, and the disagreement expanded to include 13 other signs.
In March 1982, Egypt announced the existence of a dispute with the Israeli side over some border signs. Egypt affirmed its adherence to its position supported by international documents and maps that prove the subordination of these areas to Egyptian lands. Several high-level meetings were held to discuss a solution to the crisis. Things got more complicated due to the intransigence of the Israelis.
On May 13, 1985, Prime Minister Decree No. 641 was issued to form the Taba National Committee. The committee was headed by Esmat Abdel Meguid, and included 24 experts that comprised 9 legal experts, 2 geographers and historians, 5 senior diplomats at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and 8 military and military survey experts. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs entrusted the task of preparing the notes to the jury participating committee.
The participating committee was formed under the chairmanship of Nabil El-Araby, the representative of the Egyptian government before the arbitral tribunal in Geneva. The international arbitration panel included 5 members, represented by Hamed Sultan for the Egyptian side, and by Ruth Lapidot for Israel.
The other three are Pele, former president of the French Court of Cassation; Schindler, professor of international law in Switzerland; and Lagergren, president of the Stockholm court.
The hearings were held with the jury and commenced with an opening note in May 1987.
The first session was in December 1986, then the court received counter-memoranda and responses from both parties in October 1987.
They agreed to submit a closing memorandum in January 1988, as well as two rounds of oral arguments in March and April of the same year.
The pleadings lasted 3 weeks until the ruling was issued in favor of Egypt on September 29, 1988.