The Use and Abuse of the International Court of Justice: Cases Concerning the Use of Force after Nicaragua

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Christine Gray

Christine Gray

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law

Abstract

A majority of the contentious cases brought to the International Court of Justice in recent years have involved questions of the legality of the use of force. This is a dramatic change in the subject matter of the Court's cases; Is it a dangerous development for the Court? In the A majority of the contentious cases brought to the International Court of Justice in recent years have involved questions of the legality of the use of force. This is a dramatic change in the subject matter of the Court's cases; Is it a dangerous development for the Court? In the Nicaragua case the USA argued strongly that such disputes were non-justiciable, but the Court summarily rejected its arguments. The first part of this article considers how far defendant states have subsequently challenged admissibility and jurisdiction in cases involving the use of force. Despite the rejection of the US arguments in the case, several states have reverted to these; this article considers whether their use by states which are not members of the Security Council may be more acceptable than by the USA. The second part of this article focuses on provisional measures. It discusses whether the significant increase in the number of requests for provisional measures shows the emergence of a special regime in cases involving the use of force, and examines the divisions within the Court as to whether there should be a modification of the normal requirements for an indication of provisional measures. It concludes by considering the view the Court has taken of its role as the principal judicial organ of the UN and of its relationship to the Security Council in cases involving the use of force. In the Nicaragua case the USA argued strongly that such disputes were non-justiciable, but the Court summarily rejected its arguments. The first part of this article considers how far defendant states have subsequently challenged admissibility and jurisdiction in cases involving the use of force. Despite the rejection of the US arguments in the Nicaragua case, several states have reverted to these; this article considers whether their use by states which are not members of the Security Council may be more acceptable than by the USA. The second part of this article focuses on provisional measures. It discusses whether the significant increase in the number of requests for provisional measures shows the emergence of a special regime in cases involving the use of force, and examines the divisions within the Court as to whether there should be a modification of the normal requirements for an indication of provisional measures. It concludes by considering the view the Court has taken of its role as the principal judicial organ of the UN and of its relationship to the Security Council in cases involving the use of force.

Suggested Citation

Gray, Christine, The Use and Abuse of the International Court of Justice: Cases Concerning the Use of Force after Nicaragua. European Journal of International Law, Vol. 14, No. 5, pp. 867-905, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=778529

Christine Gray (Contact Author)

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Law ( email )

10 West Road
Cambridge, CB3 9DZ
United Kingdom

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