Macedonia takes Greece to the ICJ 17 Nov 2008
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia contends that Greece violated the 1995 Interim Accord by objecting to its application to join NATO in April 2008.

The Peace Palace, The Hague: seat of the ICJOn 17 November 2008, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Greece for “a flagrant violation of its obligations under Article 11” of the Interim Accord signed by the Parties on 13 September 1995.

Article 11 provides that “[Greece] agrees not to object to the application by or the membership of the [FYROM] in international, multilateral and regional organizations and institutions of which [Greece] is a member”.

However, FYROM contends that Greece vetoed its application to join NATO during the Bucharest summit in April 2008, because it wants to resolve the difference between the Parties concerning the constitutional name of FYROM as a precondition for Macedonia’s membership.

Decade-long name row

The dispute over the official name of the FYROM emerged at the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991. Greece objects the FYROM using the name “Macedonia”, saying it implies claims on a Greek province of the same name. The Greece-FYROM 1995 Interim Accord was signed between the Parties in September 1995 in order to facilitate the process towards a final agreement which has not been reached yet.

The flag on the left, in use from 1992-1995, was changed by FYROM in accordance with the 1995 Accord. The flag on the right is FYROM's present flag.The Accord mainly aimed at having both Parties declare they do not have territorial claims, refrain from using violence and proceed with their talks under the auspices of the UN Secretary General. Under the conditions of the Accord, FYROM had to change its constitution and flag in order to remove all symbols which could imply further territorial claims.

No mutually acceptable solution has been reached over the official and internationally recognised name of FYROM in more than a decade. Negotiations are currently ongoing between both Parties in New York.

In its Application, FYROM requests the Court to order Greece to “immediately take all necessary steps to comply with its obligations under Article 11” and “to cease and desist from objecting […] to the Applicant’s membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and/or of any other ‘international, multilateral and regional organizations and institutions.’”

FYROM emphasised that the subject of the dispute does not concern the dispute between Greece and itself over its name.

Press release
Presentation of the case

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