The Frailties of Maps as Evidence in International Law

Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Vol. 9, No. 4 (2018)

16 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2017 Last revised: 14 Aug 2019

See all articles by William Thomas Worster

William Thomas Worster

The Hague University of Applied Sciences - International Law; University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law, Amsterdam Center for International Law; University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law

Date Written: December 16, 2017

Abstract

Maps are a crucial item of evidence in international law, yet their limitations in terms of constructing reality are not usually considered in depth. Maps are not objective, but rather subjective, and hence political, documents. International courts and tribunals, and international negotiations, often apply maps as if they were unimpeachable. After all, they do appear on their face to be scientific instruments, depicting a photographic and naturalistic representation of reality. However, they are not naturally occurring themselves; they are constructions that function as imperfect models, representing reality for certain purposes. For whatever purposes the map is used, the map must be evaluated, and perhaps deconstructed. This article will examine the various ways in which maps are products of choices, errors and assumptions, and the implications those limitations have for maps when they serve as evidence in international relations.

Keywords: map, mapping, evidence, dispute, Vienna Convention, International Court of Justice

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K19, K30, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Worster, William Thomas, The Frailties of Maps as Evidence in International Law (December 16, 2017). Journal of International Dispute Settlement, Vol. 9, No. 4 (2018), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3089117 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3089117

William Thomas Worster (Contact Author)

The Hague University of Applied Sciences - International Law ( email )

Stamkartplein 40
Hague
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.hhs.nl

University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Law, Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000BA
Netherlands

University of Missouri at Kansas City - School of Law ( email )

5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499
United States

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