Ruling Pertaining to the Difference Between France and New Zealand Arising from the Rainbow Warrior Affair
26 I.L.M. 1349 (1987)

  • Greenpeace (an environmental group) had a ship in a harbor in New Zealand. They were headed to protest French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.
  • French secret agents put a bomb on the ship, sinking it and killing a crewmember.
  • New Zealand arrested two agents.
    • France claimed that the agents were working for the government, so they shouldn't be held personally accountable.
      • Under French law, criminal acts committed pursuant to official orders are not illegal.
    • New Zealand said that international law doesn't excuse criminal acts on the grounds they were committed pursuant to official orders.
  • New Zealand tried and convicted the agents and sentenced them to jail in New Zealand.
    • France wanted them to serve their sentences in France.
  • France attempted to pressure New Zealand by restricting imports of New Zealand goods.
  • France and New Zealand agreed to Third Party dispute settlement through the Secretary General of the UN.
  • The UNSG found:
    • France should give an apology.
    • France should pay compensation.
    • France should remove trade restrictions.
    • The two French agents should be allowed to serve their sentences in France.