The International Court of Justice: It is High Time to Restyle the Respected Old Lady

Antonio Cassese

in Realizing Utopia

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691661
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738593 | DOI:
The International Court of Justice: It is High Time to Restyle the Respected Old Lady

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The essential recipe for reviving the Court and bringing it into the twenty-first century is to turn it from a substantially arbitral court — a late nineteenth-century institution oriented to unrestricted respect for outmoded conceptions of state sovereignty — into a proper court of law, with all the attributes and trappings of a modern judicial body. A number of legal and practical measures are suggested for improving the Court. Some changes would need an amendment of the Court's Statute: the suppression of the ad hoc judges system or the duty for a national judge to recuse himself or herself where a state is not ‘represented’ on the Court; the expansion of contentious jurisdiction to intergovernmental organizations; the granting of the right to request advisory opinions to subjects other than states; and the endowing of the Court with the power to decide on referrals from national or international courts. Other changes would instead require only amendments of the Court's Rules or even only changes in the Court's practice directions.

Keywords: International Court of Justice; arbitral court; court of law; advisory opinions

Chapter.  5414 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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