The Absent Judge: A Commentary on Article 23 ICJ Statute
Bonn Research Papers on Public International Law No. 1/2012
26 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2012
Date Written: January 5, 2012
The Members of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are obliged to hold themselves permanently at the disposal of the Court except during judicial vacations and if they are on leave or prevented from attending by illness or other serious reasons. The Judges of the ICJ are, however, frequently absent from the Court. In several cases up to three members of the Court were absent at the same public sitting; in two cases, due to absence, the number of judges on the bench was reduced to 11; and in one recent case there were only 10 judges left on the bench. The paper examines provision of the Court’s Statute dealing with the absence of judges, the meaning of ‘absence’, the duty of judges to explain their absence, justifications for absence and the consequences of the absence of judges. Although the record of the judges’ presence in The Hague seems to have improved over last couple of years, their frequent presence at academic conferences, their public speaking engagements, and their work as arbitrators indicates some further room for improvement.
Keywords: Public international law, International Court of Justice, Statute, judges
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