‘A Just World Under Law’ Plenary Address

Rosalyn Higgins Dbe Qc

in Themes and Theories

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198262350
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682322 | DOI:
‘A Just World Under Law’ Plenary Address

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‘Under’ law suggests a judicial system, hierarchies, and enforcement. Realism suggests we are very far from that sort of world. When the notion of justice is decoupled from the legal process, then, of course, the concept of ‘justice’ becomes extremely subjective. The International Court of Justice is, at the time this chapter was written, in the middle of hearings in a case of great complexity — Bosnia and Herzogovina v Serbia and Montenegro. The Court was hearing the merits of a genocide claim, as well as issues of entitlement to access the Court which, because of the admission of Serbia and Montenegro as a new state member of the United Nations in 2000, had arisen subsequent to the favorable jurisdiction decision. This chapter talks about justice and reconciliation, the widening and deepening of international law, the increase in number of judicial bodies such as international courts and tribunals, and the growing interface between international law and national law, and between international courts and national courts.

Keywords: International Court of Justice; genocide; justice; reconciliation; international law; international courts; national courts; national law; United Nations; Serbia and Montenegro

Chapter.  5500 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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