Majority and Individual Opinions: Constructive Dialogue or the Worst of Two Worlds?
Forthcoming, Research Handbook on the International Court of Justice (Elgar).
11 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2019
Date Written: April 10, 2019
This article examines the significance of the ICJ’s rules and practices for the Court’s internal working; its settlement of disputes; clarification and development of international law; and the implications for the independence of the ICJ. It is concluded that the Court’s procedures have not prevented the rendering of many, diverse and lengthy individual opinions. Such multi-faceted decisions may at its best be informative and constructive, but at its worst it may result in short and vague majority decisions combined with a split Court comprising diversified individual opinions. This may negatively affect compliance by the disputing parties, as well as clarification and development of the law. The politicized climate of the election of ICJ judges may prevent re-election of judges and thereby undermine the independence of the Court. One possibility would be that the General Assembly and the Security Council institute a practice of denying re-election of judges.
Keywords: international law, dispute settlement, legitimacy, international courts, International Court of Justice
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation