CYIL vol. 12 (2021)

jan kuklík CYIL 12 (2021) In March 1931, there emerged a situation which gave rise to common action of Yugoslav, Romanian, Czechoslovak, and Polish governments. When the Minorities Committee of Three discussed petitions of the Ukrainian minority against Poland the Committee issued an extensive press release stating the content of the petitions. Such approach provoked protests of those governments which primarily requested that such procedure should not create a precedent for the future. 74 About 950 petitions were submitted to the League of Nations up to 1939, of which about 550 were found admissible; however, the Council decided only 14 of that number. 75 Between 1921 and 1929, about 300 petitions were filed and 150 were found admissible; however, it should be noted that the Secretariat General did not include petitions relating to Upper Silesia in those numbers. 76 The highest number of petitions was submitted in the beginning of the 1930s (204 in the years 1930/31); in 1938/39 the system began to collapse and only 4 petitions were filed. 77 The low number of petitions recommended by the Committees of Three to be considered by the Council (the overall number was only 16) was caused also by the fact that consideration in the committee was in most cases sufficient and informal consultations held with states concerned usually led to the solution of problems claimed; another factor which impeded more petitions to be dispose of by the Council was that any measure to be adopted must have been passed by unanimity vote of the Council members. Thus, the Council gave preference to the cooperative principle of friendly relations between the League of Nations and its member states subject to minorities obligations over imposing any potential sanctions upon them. The second significant part of the mechanism, namely decision-making of the permanent Court of International Justice, brought in no expected results although some decisions contributed to debates on a definition of minority or the scope of minorities rights, for example, in linguistic and educational matters. The Permanent Court awarded just one judgment upon the petition of a state, namely Germany against Poland regarding minorities schools. 78 Other two petitions against Poland (particularly that claiming discrimination in the land reform) were withdrawn by Germany after Hitler had grasped the power. 79 The Council of the League of Nations resorted to the Permanent Court in five cases asking for issuing their advisory opinion, although not legally binding. Three requests applied to the protection of the German minority in Poland, one to the status of the Polish minority in Gdansk and one to the Greek minority in Albania. 80 The Permanent Court issued no decision 74 75 Zeill estimates that about 900 petitions were submitted, of which 480 admissible, p. 96. The exact number can be extracted from the Register of petitions S400-4/65-1-6, although even in 1929 Adachi in his report noted that it was difficult to designate some submissions as petitions; moreover, some petitions were withdrawn. This is the reason for different numbers provided in literature dealing with the topic. 76 Protection of linguistic, racial or religious minorities by the League of Nations. Resolutions and Extracts from the Minutes of the Council, Resolutions and Reports adopted by the Assembly relating to the Procedure to be followed in Questions concerning the Protection of Minorities, ibid., p. 176. 77 Musgrave, T. D.: Self-determination and national minorities , ibid., p. 55. 78 Permanent Court of International Justice, Rights of Minorities in Upper Silesia (Minority Schools), Germany v. Poland , Judgment No. 12, 26 April 1928. 79 Scheu, H.: ibid., p. 110. 80 Questions Relating to Settlers of German Origin in Poland, Advisory Opinion, Series B No. 6, 10 September 1923; The Greco-Bulgarian “Communities”, Advisory Opinion, Series B No. 17, 31 July 1930; Access to German Minority Schools in


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