Is the International Court of Justice Biased?
Eric A. Posner
University of Chicago - Law School
Miguel de Figueiredo
University of Connecticut - School of Law; University of California, Berkeley; Yale University - Law School
U Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 234
The International Court of Justice has jurisdiction over disputes between nations, and has decided dozens of cases since it began operations in 1946. Its defenders argue that the ICJ decides cases impartially and confers legitimacy on the international legal system. Its critics argue that the members of the ICJ vote the interests of the states that appoint them. Prior empirical scholarship is ambiguous. We test the charge of bias using statistical methods. We find strong evidence that (1) judges favor the states that appoint them, and (2) judges favor states whose wealth level is close to that of the judges' own state; and weaker evidence that (3) judges favor states whose political system is similar to that of the judges' own state, and (4) (more weakly) judges favor states whose culture (language and religion) is similar to that of the judges' own state. We find weak or no evidence that judges are influenced by regional and military alignments.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: international court of justice, ICJ, international law
Date posted: January 4, 2005