A Babel of Judicial Voices? Ruminations from the Bench

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
A Babel of Judicial Voices? Ruminations from the Bench

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The International Court of Justice is in the thick of real life overlapping jurisdiction issues. It is currently hearing the Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro Genocide Convention Case: Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently pleading. For both evidence as to facts and claims as to law, Bosnia and Herzegovina relies very much on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Serbia and Montenegro is taking a different route, calling witnesses of their own to testify. There has in fact been only one genocide conviction to date in the ICTY. There is a desire to ensure that the most heinous crimes do not escape justice, even when no special international tribunals may yet be established to ensure this: this is the underlying purpose of the principle of universal jurisdiction. Much has been made of the virtually sole example of a relatively recent court deliberately deciding an issue of general international law differently from how the same point had already been decided by the Court.

Keywords: International Court of Justice; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Serbia and Montenegro; genocide; international tribunals; universal jurisdiction; international law; heinous crimes

Chapter.  6368 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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