Bohdan Winiarski was elected president of the International Court of Justice by his fourteen fellow judges on April 5, 1961. Bohdan Winiarski of Poland will continue to preside over the judicial arm of the United Nations until 1964. Winiarski has been a judge of the court since it became operative in 1946, succeeding the Permanent Court of International Justice of the League of Nations.
He was president of the Bank of Poland with the Polish government-in-exile during World War II. Before the war, he had done legal work with the League of Nations and had taught law at Poznan University. Bohdan Stefan Winiarski was born on April 27, 1884, at Bohdanowo. The palatinate of Bialystok, Poland, into a family of landed gentry and officials.
His parents were Stanislaw K. A. Winiarski, a forestry official, and Jadwiga (Mystkowska) Winiarski. After completing his secondary schooling in Lomza, he studied at the universities of Warsaw, Krakow, Paris, and Heidelberg. He received his doctorate in law in 1910. After lecturing for three years (1911-1914) at the Polish School of Political Science in Krakow.
He was called up by the Russian army, in which he served for two years (1915- 17). Secretary of the legal section of the Polish National Committee in Paris from 1917, he was a legal adviser to the Polish delegation at the Paris Peace Conference (1919-20). A member of the Polish delegations to many international conferences after World War I.
Winiarski became particularly involved in the work of the League of Nations, which emerged from the Paris Peace Conference. He was in the delegations to the first three assemblies of the League (1920, 1921, 1922). Winiarski was a member of the League’s permanent commission un communications and transit from 1921 to 1927.
After that, he was vice-president of the commission from 1924 to 1926. He was also an assessor of the Permanent Court of International Justice, set up under the League, for communications and transit questions. A member of the international Oder River commission, he was a Polish agent at the court when the Oder dispute came before the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1929.
He was a professor at the Academy of International Law in The Hague in 1933 and became a member of the permanent Conference of Higher Studies there in 1936. Beginning in 1925, he was president of the League’s committee on inland navigation law. Meanwhile Winiarski was active in both political and academic life in Poland.
Therefore, from 1924 to 1927 he was a member of the government commissary for the liquidation of German property. As a deputy in the Polish Diet (1928-1935), he opposed the Pilsudski regime. Beginning in 1921, he taught at Poznan University. He was a professor of public international law in the university’s faculty of law beginning in 1922 and dean of the faculty of law from 1936 to 1939.
He was arrested by the Germans in September 1939, Winiarski was held as a hostage until November. Shortly thereafter he was interned with his family and his property was confiscated. Early in 1940 he escaped from Poland and offered his services to General Sikorski, Prime Minister of the Polish government-in-exile.
Winiarski was president of the London-based Bank of Poland from 1941 to 1946. So, he taught international law in the Polish faculty of law at Oxford University from 1944 to 1946. In 1944 and 1945 Winiarski was a member of the interallied committee that, under the chairmanship of Sir William Malkin. Where he was considered the future of the Permanent Court of International Justice.
The charter of the United Nations, signed at the United Nations Conference on International The organization, held in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, stated that “the International Court of Justice shall be the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.”
Integral with the charter was a statute, based upon the statute of the old court, specifying the functions of the new one. Bohdan Winiarski was one of the fifteen judges elected to the International Court in February 1946. Election, as always, was by the Security Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations, voting separately.
The Security Council and the General Assembly were then during their first meetings, held in London. Since his original term was only three years. Winiarski was re-elected to a the nine-year term on October 22, 1948. In the 1948 election, when there were forty-one candidates, Winiarski was elected in the General Assembly (where the the required absolute majority was thirty votes) on the fourth ballot and in the Security Council (where six votes were required) on the first ballot.
Bohdan Stefan Winiarski was again elected to a nine-year term in 1957. His fellow judges elected Winiarski president of the court on April 5, 1961, succeeding Green H. Hackworth of the United States. At the same time, Ricardo J. Alfaro of Panama was elected vice-president. Their terms are for three years.
As president, Winiarski takes precedence over the other court members but has no more power than they in voting on cases and expressing opinions. The International Court of Justice hears only cases in which the parties are states. It may also hand down advisory opinions.
Even though the effectiveness of the court has been seriously limited by the optional nature of its jurisdiction. So, by 1958 thirty-eight states had agreed to submit to the the judgment of the court all disputes about the interpretation of treaties, the application of international law, breaches of obligation, and damages payable for such breaches.
The prestige of the the court has been somewhat reduced by the fact that it does not exercise jurisdiction over any case that the United States chooses to consider a “domestic” matter. Since Winiarski took his seat on it in 1946, the the court has ruled in thirty-eight cases and issued eleven advisory opinions.
During 1950 it handed down several decisions to settle a dispute between the United States and France over the rights of United States citizens in Morocco. In the dispute between Great Britain (on behalf of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) and Iran in 1952, the court ruled that Iran was not violating any rights coming under the court’s jurisdiction. Then the parties eventually came to an agreement between themselves.
In April 1960 the court handed down three decisions on a right-of-passage dispute between India and Portugal. Because Portugal had the right to transport civil officials, private persons, and ordinary goods across Indian territory to two Portuguese villages within India. It did not have the right to so transporting military forces and supplies. However, an Indian blockade had not violated the rights of passage legitimately belonging to Portugal.
Moreover, in 1960 the the court also settled an old border dispute between Honduras and Nicaragua with a decision favorable to Honduras and accepted by Nicaragua. In 1957, after seizing the Suez Canal, the Egyptian government pledged itself to keep the the international character of the canal according to the Convention of 1888.
They formally accepted as compulsory the jurisdiction of the court in all conflicting legal interpretations of the Convention and other treaties involving the canal. Besides settling disputes between nations, the court advises the General Assembly, the Security Council, or agencies of the United Nations on matters of international law or treaty interpretations.
A prolific writer on constitutional law, particularly in its historical aspects in Poland and France, Bohdan Winiarski has written even more extensively on international law, particularly as related to aviation, legitimate defense, com- N. V. Ziegler.
The communications, arbitration, disarmament, and inland navigation. Among his numerous books are Principes generaux du droit fluvial international, lectures on international river law given by Winiarski at the Academy of International Law in The Hague in 1933 and published in Paris in 1934.
That was part three of volume forty-five of the academy’s “Recueil des cours” and Wybor irodel do nauki prawa miedzynarodoivego, published in Warsaw in 1938. Bohdan Winiarski married Wanda Markowska on April 5, 1913. They have one son, Maciej, and two daughters, Krystyna and Magdalena. Bohdan Stefan Winiarski died on 4 December 1969 in Poznan.
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Originally posted 2020-01-28 20:43:20.