The International Court of Justice During the Battle for International Law (1955-1975)—Colonial Imprints and Possibilities for Change

Forthcoming, Jochen von Bernstorff and Philipp Dann (eds.), The Battle for International Law in the Decolonization Era (2018)

Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2018-08

Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2018-02

20 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2018 Last revised: 5 Jul 2018

Ingo Venzke

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law

Date Written: March 23, 2018

Abstract

The present chapter investigates the role of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) during the battle for international law, roughly between the years of 1955-1975. It first draws attention to the sceptical voices from newly independent states that saw the Court in its role of reinforcing international law’s colonial imprints. The chapter then zooms in on the Court’s captivating highpoint during the battle for international law: the 1962 and 1966 Judgments in South West Africa. Whatever hope there was that the Court could work towards progressive change, it was dashed with the Court’s jarring 1966 decision which, in the eyes of many states, presented the ICJ as a ‘white man’s court’ in a white man’s world. Through archival material the chapter then shows the ripples of the 1966 decision in judicial elections and in the quest to change the composition of the bench. In later years, the Court regained an ambivalence in its judicial practice that it had lost in 1966. The chapter argues in conclusion that, not the least, the present inquiry serves as a vivid reminder that international law and its institutions are the product of a veritable struggle, then as now.

Keywords: International Court of Justice, History of International Law, Decolonization, Newly Independent States, South West Africa, Judicial Elections

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Venzke, Ingo, The International Court of Justice During the Battle for International Law (1955-1975)—Colonial Imprints and Possibilities for Change (March 23, 2018). Forthcoming, Jochen von Bernstorff and Philipp Dann (eds.), The Battle for International Law in the Decolonization Era (2018) ; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2018-08; Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2018-02. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3147623

Ingo Venzke (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for International Law ( email )

P.O. Box 1030
Amsterdam, 1000 BA
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.uva.nl/profiel/v/e/i.venzke/i.venzke.html

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