Is the International Court of Justice Worth the Effort?

17 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2011

Date Written: 1987


Throughout history most peacemaking has been a response to a particular crisis – efforts of two countries to solve a dispute by treaty or to negotiate the end of a war. But as the instruments of war have become more and more horrible, as wars have come to take an ever increasing toll on civilian populations, world leaders have tried to establish a structure of peace, a permanent way of avoiding conflict be appealing to reason, not to weapons. Our century has hoped that some sort of international tribunal – a world court – would decide disputes on enduring principles of justice, not on the size of battalions. Skeptics look at the meager results of these efforts – the modern International Court of Justice issues less than one contentious case judgment a year in its first 35 years of existence – and wonder whether the world is ready for international justice. Defenders point out that is unthinkable in a nuclear age and that international justice offers the best hope for peace. The article talks about how the International Court of Justice works, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. The article suggests that while neither the United Nations nor the International Court of Justice have achieved their ultimate purposes “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” they may still be the world’s best hopes to resolve conflicts between and among nations in this imperfect jungle world.

Keywords: International Court of Justice, United Nations, peacemaking, international tribunal, international law

Suggested Citation

Daly, Joseph L., Is the International Court of Justice Worth the Effort? (1987). Akron Law Review, Vol. 20, p. 391, 1987, Available at SSRN:

Joseph L. Daly (Contact Author)

Hamline University ( email )

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Saint Paul, MN 55104-1237
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