Reflections from the International Court

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
Reflections from the International Court

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This chapter offers a short prefatory reflection on the role and responsibility of a judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the contemporary international legal system. As a main organ of the United Nations (UN), the ICJ presents an annual written report to the UN on its work. And in recent years the practice has grown whereby the president addresses the General Assembly and its Sixth Committee (and perhaps even the Security Council). The generalised responsibility of the ICJ judge also puts an emphasis on collegiality. This chapter does not believe that ICJ judgments are ‘weakened’ by separate or dissenting opinions. While the ICJ judges are elected in their personal capacities, they must through their work serve the entire international community, and not any one particular region or legal system. There is a process by which optimal answers can be arrived at, with leading guidance given by those decision-makers entrusted by the international community with that task. This is the contemporary challenge in international law, and the particular responsibility of the international judge.

Keywords: United Nations; International Court of Justice; judges; collegiality; international law; responsibility; judgments; General Assembly

Chapter.  1935 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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