Why States Resort to Litigation in Cases Concerning the Use of Force

23 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2013

See all articles by Christine Gray

Christine Gray

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Date Written: December 14, 2012


This paper begins by asking which states initiate litigation on the use of force during ongoing armed conflicts. In practice it has been militarily weaker states that have turned to the ICJ in such circumstances, and that routinely request provisional measures in these cases. The next section considers resort to the ICJ after the end of a conflict. The chapter goes on to discuss the ICJ’s decisions on the legality of the use of force in two of its most important cases, its first ever judgment, Corfu Channel, and its landmark judgment in the Nicaragua case. The next section considers whether the ICJ has gone out of its way to assert jurisdiction in cases concerning the use of force; it is clear from an overview of its jurisprudence that it has not done so. However, its assertion of jurisdiction in Nicaragua and Oil Platforms was controversial and the next sections consider the Court’s reasoning in these cases. The paper concludes by discussing arbitral awards and Advisory Opinions on the use of force and considering why states resort to judicial mechanisms in these cases.

Keywords: use of force, litigation, International Court of Justice, Corfu Channel case, Nicaragua case, Oil Platforms case

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Gray, Christine, Why States Resort to Litigation in Cases Concerning the Use of Force (December 14, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2309900 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2309900

Christine Gray (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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