Skip to main content

On the Functions of International Courts: An Appraisal in Light of Their Burgeoning Public Authority


This contribution presents international judicial institutions as multifunctional actors against the background of a traditional understanding, which sees just one function: settling disputes. The traditional, one-dimensional understanding eclipses other important functions that many international courts do actually perform in contexts of global governance and it underrates problems in their legitimation. In order to appreciate international adjudications’ manifold contributions to social interaction, the paper first identifies three more functions beyond dispute settlement: the stabilization of normative expectations, law-making, and the control as well as legitimation of authority exercised by others. It then places these functions within broader basic understandings of international courts, which respectively picture them as instruments of the parties in a state-centred world order, as organs of a value-based international community, and as institutions of specific legal regimes. The distinct problems that each of these basic understanding faces lead to the contours of a new paradigm for the study of international courts as actors exercising public authority. The present functional analysis ultimately helps to refine both the phenomenon and normative questions.

Hide All

1 Shany, Y., ‘No Longer a Weak Department of Power? Reflections on the Emergence of a New International Judiciary’, (2009) 20 EJIL 73; Alter, K., ‘The Evolving International Judiciary’, (2011) 7 Annual Review of Law and Social Science 387; Kingsbury, B., ‘International Courts: Uneven Judicialization in Global Order’, in Crawford, J. and Koskenniemi, M. (eds.), Cambridge Companion to International Law (2012), 203.

2 For the concept of public authority in further detail see von Bogdandy, A. and Venzke, I., ‘In Whose Name? International Courts’ Public Authority and Its Democratic Justification’, (2012) 23 EJIL 7; von Bogdandy, A., Dann, P., and Goldmann, M., ‘Developing the Publicness of Public International Law: Towards a Legal Framework for Global Governance Activities’, (2008) 9 German Law Journal 1375.

3 We use the notion of international courts broadly for institutions whose characteristic practice it is to decide cases by way of binding decisions rendered by independent and impartial persons in conformity with an ordered judicial procedure. This notably includes WTO panels and the Appellate Body even if they do not formally decide cases in a binding fashion. Their institutional and political set-up all the same brings them within the purview of our definition. See text at notes 134–5, infra. Employing a similarly broad understanding: Romano, C., ‘The Proliferation of International Judicial Bodies: The Pieces of the Puzzle’, (1999) 31 JILP 709; Helfer, L. and Slaughter, A.-M., ‘Toward a Theory of Effective Supranational Adjudication’, (1997) 107 Yale Law Journal 273, at 338. Cf. Tomuschat, C., ‘International Courts and Tribunals’, in Wolfrum, R. (ed.), Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (2012), para. 1 (using a more narrow conception). We do not, however, consider the ECJ as an international court because it is part of a constitutional order and of an institutionally developed polity. The research also seems to be more advanced with regard to the ECJ; see de Búrca, G. and Weiler, J. H. H. (eds.), The European Court of Justice (2001).

4 Alvarez, J., International Organizations as Law-Makers (2006) (fittingly discussing international courts within the framework of institutional law).

5 See, e.g., Shaw, M. N., International Law (2008), 1010; Brownlie, I., Principles of Public International Law (2008), 701–25; Dupuy, P. M. and Kerbrat, Y., Droit international public (2010), 613–56; Daillier, P., Forteau, M., and Pellet, A., Droit international public (2009), 923; Doehring, K., Völkerrecht (2004), 470502.

6 Cf. Caflisch, L., ‘Cent ans de règlement pacifique des différends interétatiques’, (2001) 288 Recueil des cours 245, at 442–460; Tomuschat, C., ‘International Law: Ensuring the Survival of Mankind on the Eve of a New Century’, (1999) 281 Recueil des cours 9, at 390–433. Research in international relations has an advantage in this regard, see K. J. Alter, ‘Delegating to International Courts: Self-Binding vs Other-Binding Delegation’, (2008) 71 Law and Contemporary Problems 37; Stone Sweet, A., ‘Judicialization and the Construction of Governance’, (1999) 32 Comparative Political Studies 147.

7 This has, of course, been recognized and analyses in this field have proceeded accordingly. See, e.g., Alvarez, J., ‘Rush to Closure: Lessons of the Tadić Judgment’, (1998) 96 Michigan Law Review 2061; Burke-White, W., ‘The Domestic Influence of International Criminal Tribunals: The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Creation of the State Court of Bosnia–Herzegovina’, (2008) 46 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 279.

8 See, e.g., Merrills, J., International Dispute Settlement, (2011), 116–19.

9 See Shapiro, M., Courts: A Comparative and Political Analysis (1981), 2 (suggesting that most judicial behaviour should be analysed in terms of attempts that seek to prevent that triadic constellations breaking down into two, the court and the favoured party, against one, the disfavoured party).

10 Appellate Report Japan – Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, adopted 1 November 1996, DSR 1996:2, WT/DS8/AB/R, WT/DS8/AB/R, WT/DS11/AB/R at 14.

11 Shapiro, supra note 9; Luhmann, N., Das Recht der Gesellschaft (1993); Bender, R., ‘Funktionswandel der Gerichte’, (1974) 7 Zeitschrift für Rechtspolitik 235; Cotterrell, R., The Sociology of Law (1984), 216–58; Friedman, L. M., ‘Trial Courts and Their Work in the Modern World’, in Friedman, L. M. and Rehbinder, M. (eds.), Zur Soziologie des Gerichtsverfahrens (1976), 3982; Jacob, H., Courts, Law, and Politics in Comparative Perspective (1996); K.F. Röhl, Rechtssoziologie (1987), 520–21.

12 Esfeld, M., ‘Funktion’, in Kolmer, P. and Wildfeuer, A. G. (eds.), Neues Handbuch philosophischer Grundbegriffe (2011), at 842–54.

13 Röhl, supra note 11, at 520–1. Cf. Shelton, D., ‘Form, Function, and the Powers of International Courts’, (2009) 9 Chicago Journal of International Law 537, at 542; Lowe, V., ‘The Function of Litigation in International Society’, (2012) 41 ICLQ 209 (in spite of the titles, both contributions speak of functions). Also see Pellet, A., ‘Art. 38’, in Zimmermann, A., Oellers-Frahm, K., and Tomuschat, C. (eds.), The Statute of the International Court of Justice: A Commentary (2006), mn. 55 (speaking of ‘implied or derivative functions’).

14 Lowe, supra note 13 at 219. See in a similar perspective focused on goals rather than functions Shany, Y., ‘Assessing the Effectiveness of International Courts: A Goal-Based Approach’, (2012) 106 AJIL 225.

15 But note that the domestic boundaries of their horizons are increasingly challenged, with good reasons. Nollkaemper, A., National Courts and the International Rule of Law (2011), 910; Benvenisti, E. and Downs, G. W., ‘National Courts, Domestic Democracy, and the Evolution of International Law’, (2009) 20 EJIL 59.

16 See supra notes 56. See also Shelton, supra note 13, at 540, n. 15 (on the even sacral status of international courts).

17 North Sea Continental Shelf (Federal Republic of Germany v. Denmark and Netherlands), Judgment of 20 February 1969, [1969] ICJ Rep. 3, at 3, para. 87, with reference to the Free Zones of Upper Savoy and the District of Gex (France v. Switzerland), PCIJ Rep. Series A No. 22, at 3, para. 13. Cf. Abi-Saab, G., ‘Cours général de droit international public’, (1987) 207 Recueil des cours 9, at 229.

18 See Pellet, supra note 13, mn. 54.

19 LaGrand (Germany v. United States of America), Request for the Indication of Provisional Measures, Order of 3 March 1999, [1999] ICJ Rep. 9, at 9, para. 25.

20 Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America), Merits, Judgment of 27 June 1986, [1986] ICJ Rep. 14, at 14.

21 United States: The Secretary of State, Washington, ‘Department of State Letter and Confirmation Concerning Termination of Acceptance of ICJ Compulsory Jurisdiction’, (1985) 24 International Legal Materials 1742.

22 Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War (1910), Book 5, Chapter 89.

23 Habermas, J., Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy (2008), 427; Luhmann supra note 11, at 150–3.

24 Prosecutor v. Tadić, Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction, Case No. IT-94–1-AR72, Appeals Chamber, 2 October 1995.

25 Mosler, H. and Oellers-Frahm, K., ‘Article 94’, in Simma, B. (ed.), The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary (2002), 1174, 1176; Schulte, C., Compliance with Decisions of the International Court of Justice (2005), 3863.

26 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, 213 UNTS 2889, Art. 46(2).

27 1994 Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes, Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, Annex 2, 1869 UNTS 401, Art. 22 (DSU).

28 1965 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, 575 UNTS 8359, Art. 54 (ICSID Convention).

29 Cf. Barnett, M. N. and Duvall, R., ‘Power in Global Governance’, in Barnett, M. N. and Duvall, R. (eds.), Power in Global Governance (2005), 1.

30 On the concept of reputation, see Guzman, A.T., How International Law Works: A Rational Choice Theory (2008), 71; Dothan, S., ‘Judicial Tactics in the European Court of Human Rights’, (2011) 12 Chicago Journal of International Law 115.

31 Venzke, I., ‘The Role of International Courts as Interpreters and Developers of the Law: Working out the Jurisgenerative Practice of Interpretation’, (2012) 34 Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review 99.

32 Cf. Lowe, supra note 13, at 213–14 (distinguishing a retrospective function of litigation that pertains to settling concrete disputes and a prospective function of law-making); Tams, C. and Tzanakopoulos, A., ‘Barcelona Traction at 40: The ICJ as an Agent of Legal Development’, (2010) 23 LJIL 781.

33 Appellate Report Japan – Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, adopted 1 November 1996, DSR 1996:2, WT/DS8/AB/R, WT/DS8/AB/R, WT/DS11/AB/R, at 14–15; similarly Prosecutor v. Aleksovski, Judgment, IT-95-14, 1-A, 24 March 2000, paras. 107–111.

34 Weeramantry, C. G., ‘The Function of the International Court of Justice in the Development of International Law’, (1997) 10 LJIL 309.

35 Among others, already Hans Kelsen has observed that any law-application also amounts to a law-making: Reine Rechtslehre (1934), at 82–3, 91. See in further detail Venzke, supra note 31. Boyle, A. E. and Chinkin, C. M., The Making of International Law (2007), 268 (observing that ‘international courts . . . play a major law-making role’).

36 Müller, F., ‘Richterrecht – rechtstheoretisch formuliert’, in Reinart, G. (ed.), Richterliche Rechtsfortbildung, Festschrift der Juristischen Fakultät zur 600-Jahr-Feier der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (1986), 65 and 78.

37 von Bogdandy, A. and Venzke, I., ‘Beyond Dispute: International Judicial Institutions as Lawmakers’, (2011) 12 German Law Journal 979, at 987; Jacob, M., ‘Precedents: Lawmaking through International Adjudication’, (2011) 12 German Law Journal 1005, at 1029; Ginsburg, T., ‘Bounded Discretion in International Judicial Lawmaking’, (2005) 45 Virginia Journal of International Law 63; Shahabuddeen, M., Precedent in the World Court (1996), at 76 and 209; Höland, A., ‘Wie wirkt Rechtsprechung?’, (2009) 30 Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie 23, at 35–9.

38 Y. Shany, supra note 1.

39 See, e.g., 1946 Statute of the International Court of Justice, Charter of the United Nations, Annex, Art. 56(1) (ICJ Statute); 1962 Rules of Procedure of the European Nuclear Energy Tribunal, 11 December 1962, Art. 41. See Ross, A., Theorie der Rechtsquellen. Ein Beitrag zur Theorie des positiven Rechts auf Grundlage dogmenhistorischer Untersuchungen (1929), 283; Kriele, M., Theorie der Rechtsgewinnung (1976), 167–71; Trachtman, J. P., ‘The Domain of WTO Dispute Resolution’, (1999) 40 Harvard International Law Journal 333.

40 In more detail, see Jacob, supra note 37, at 1005–32; Schill, S. W., ‘System-Building in Investment Treaty Arbitration and Lawmaking’, (2011) 12 German Law Journal 1083.

41 This distinction is held up in the use of different terms in German-speaking legal science, whereas in the world of common law the innovative judge frequently simply figures as law-maker. South Pacific Co. v. Jensen, 244 US 205 (Sup. Ct. 1917) at 221, Dissenting Judgment of Justice Oliver W. Holmes; Reid, Lord, ‘The Judge as Law Maker’, (1972) 12 Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law 22. Cf. Kennedy, D., A Critique of Adjudication (1997), 2338.

42 Venzke, I., How Interpretation Makes International Law: On Semantic Change and Normative Twists (2012). On the concept of semantic fights, see Christensen, R. and Sokolowski, M., ‘Recht als Einsatz im semantischen Kampf’, in Felder, E. (ed.), Semantische Kämpfe. Macht und Sprache in den Wissenschaften (2006), 353. For a yet more drastic understanding, see Cover, R. M., ‘Violence and the Word’, (1986) 95 Yale Law Journal 1601.

43 Jacob, supra note 37; Schauer, F., ‘Precedent’, (1987) 39 Stanford Law Review 571.

44 For examples see von Bogdandy and Venzke, supra note 2, 2536.

45 Carrubba, C. J., ‘Courts and Compliance in International Regulatory Regimes’, (2005) 67 Journal of Politics 669; Alter, supra note 6.

46 Martinez, J., ‘Towards an International Judicial System’, (2003) 56 Stanford Law Review 429, at 461, suggesting that this is the main function of international jurisdiction.

47 Wildhaber, L., ‘Eine verfassungsrechtliche Zukunft für den Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte?’, (2002) 29 Europäische Grundrechtezeitschrift 569; Keller, H. and Stone Sweet, A. (eds.), A Europe of Rights: The Impact of the ECHR on National Legal Systems (2008). Carazo Ortiz, P., ‘El Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos: democracia y derechos humanos como factores integradores en Latinoamérica’, in von Bogdandy, A., Landa Arroyo, C., and Morales Antoniazzi, M. (eds.), ¿Integración suramericana a través del Derecho? (2009), 231.

48 1994 Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, 1869 UNTS 401, Art. 16(4); Appellate Report European Communities – Regime for the Importation, Sale and Distribution of Bananas, adopted 9 September 1997, AB-1997–3, WT/DS27/AB/R, paras. 132–135.

49 See Kingsbury, B. and Schill, S. W., ‘Investor State Arbitration as Governance: Fair and Equitable Treatment, Proportionality and the Emerging Global Administrative Law’, (2009), NYU Public Law and Legal Theory Research Working Paper, Paper 146, at 7.

50 Saurer, J., ‘Die Globalisierung des Verhältnismäßigkeitsgrundsatzes’, (2012) 51 Der Staat 3; Issacharoff, S., ‘Democracy and Collective Decision Making’, (2008) 6 International Journal of Constitutional Law 231.

51 Binder, C., ‘The Prohibition of Amnesties by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’, (2012) 12 German Law Journal 1203.

52 See Ioannidis, M., ‘A Procedural Approach to the Legitimacy of International Adjudication: Developing Standards of Participation in WTO Law’, (2011) 12 German Law Journal 1175; Cassese, S., ‘Global Standards for National Administrative Procedure’, (2005) 68 Law and Contemporary Problems 109.

53 For other possible mechanisms, see Benvenisti, E. and Downs, G. W., ‘The Empire's New Clothes: Political Economy and the Fragmentation of International Law’, (2007) 60 Stanford Law Review 595.

54 Bowett, D. W., ‘The Court's Role in Relation to International Organizations’, in Lowe, V. and Fitzmaurice, M. (eds.), Fifty Years of the International Court of Justice: Essays in Honour of Sir Robert Jennings (1996), 181; de Wet, E., The Chapter VII Powers of the United Nations Security Council (2004), 69129; Papa, M. I., I rapporti tra la corte internazionale di giustizia e il consiglio di sicurezza (2006), 287358; Tzanakopoulos, A., Disobeying the Security Council (2011), 94110.

55 Prosecutor v. Tadić, supra note 24, paras. 13–48.

56 On the development of administrative review in domestic contexts, see S. Cassese, ‘Die Entfaltung des Verwaltungsstaates in Europa’, and M. Fromont, ‘Typen staatlichen Verwaltungsrechts in Europa’, both in von Bogdandy, A., Cassese, S., and Huber, P. M. (eds.), Ius Publicum Europaeum: Bd. III: Verwaltungsrecht in Europa: Grundlagen: Verwaltungsrecht in Europa: Grundlagen und Wissenschaft (2010), at mnn. 50–1 and mn. 20 respectively.

57 R. Y. Jennings, ‘General Introduction’, in Zimmermann, Oellers-Frahm, and Tomuschat, supra note 13, at 3–37, para. 5 (with reference to the negotiation records).

58 McWhinney, E., ‘Judicial Settlement of Disputes: Jurisdiction and Judiciabilty’, (1990) 221 Recueil des cours 9, at 36–45; Abi-Saab, supra note 17, at 255–8.

59 Shapiro, supra note 9.

60 Ibid. H. Kelsen, Peace through Law (1944).

61 Damrosch, L. F., ‘Retaliation or Arbitration – Or Both? The 1978 United States–France Aviation Dispute’, (1980) 74 AJIL 785; Sandholtz, W. and Stone Sweet, A., ‘Law, Politics, and International Governance’, in Reus-Smit, C. (ed.), The Politics of International Law (2004) 238.

62 Sohn, L. B., ‘International Arbitration in Historical Perspective: Past and Present’, in Soons, A. H. (ed.), International Arbitration (1990) 9, at 10–11; Ralston, J. H., International Arbitration from Athens to Locarno (1929), 153–5.

63 See J. B. Scott, The Hague Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 (1909), 198.

64 J. Goebel, The Equality of States (1925).

65 See Caron, D. D., ‘War and International Adjudication: Reflections on the 1899 Peace Conference’, (2000) 94 AJIL 4.

66 Spiermann, O., International Legal Argument in the Permanent Court of International Justice (2005).

67 The Case of the S.S. Lotus (France v. Turkey), Judgment, 7 July 1927, PCIJ Rep Series A No. 10, at 18; similarly Island of Palmas Case (Netherlands v. United States of America) (1928) 2 RIAA 829.

68 Island of Palmas Case (United States of America v. Netherlands) (1928) 11 RIAA 831, at 8.

69 Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, Advisory Opinion of 22 July 2010 (not yet published) (Judge Simma), paras. 2–3 and 8. Cf. Howse, R. and Teitel, R., ‘Delphic Dictum: How Has the ICJ Contributed to the Global Rule of Law by Its Ruling on Kosovo?’, (2010) 11 German Law Journal 841.

70 Charter of the United Nations, Art. 24(1). Cf. Steinberger, H., The International Court of Justice (1974), 194–5.

71 The Corfu Channel Case (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania), Assessment of the amount of compensation due from the People's Republic of Albania to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Judgment of 15 December 1949, [1949] ICJ Rep. 244.

72 1988 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 2187 UNTS 90, Art. 13(b).

73 Monetary Gold Removed from Rome in 1943 (Italy v. France, United Kingdom and United States of America), Preliminary Question, Judgment of 15 June 1954, [1954] ICJ Rep. 19, at 32.

74 East Timor (Portugal v. Australia), Judgment of 30 June 1995, [1995] ICJ Rep. 90, at para. 29. Cf. (Judge Weeramantry, Dissenting Opinion) at 139.

75 Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Advisory Opinion of 28 May 1951, [1951] ICJ Rep. 15, at 27.

76 See R. Wolfrum, ‘Intervention in the Proceedings before the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea’, in Götz, V., Selmer, P., and Wolfrum, R. (eds.), Liber Amicorum Günther Jaenicke (1998), 427.

77 The answer was an easy one because the NGO had tried to base its claim on Art. 34 of the ICJ Statute, whose relevant para. 3 is shaped to fit public international organizations. Therefore, the simple conclusion that the NGO is not a public international organization sufficed. See P. Dupuy, ‘Article 34’, in Zimmermann, Oellers-Frahm, and Tomuschat, supra note 13, at 545–63, mn. 3; Lindblom, A. K., Non-Governmental Organisations in International Law (2005), 303–4; Valencia-Ospina, E., ‘Non-Governmental Organizations and the International Court of Justice’, in Treves, al. (eds.), Civil Society, International Courts and Compliance Bodies (2005), 227.

78 Lindblom, ibid., at 305.

79 Gabcíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary/Slovakia), Judgment of 25 September 1997, [1997] ICJ Rep. 7.

80 See ICJ Practice Direction XII (as amended on 20 January 2009), available at

81 Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996, [1996] ICJ Rep. 226, at 287 (Judge Guillaume, Separate Opinion).

82 Howse, R., ‘Membership and Its Privileges: The WTO, Civil Society, and the Amicus Brief Controversy’, (2003) 9 European Law Journal 496; Mavroidis, P. C., ‘Amicus Curiae Briefs before the WTO: Much Ado about Nothing’, in von Bogdandy, A., Mény, Y., and Mavroidis, P. C. (eds.), European Integration and International Co-Ordination: Studies in Transnational Economic Law in Honour of Claus-Dieter Ehlermann (2002), 317–30; McRae, D. M., ‘What Is the Future of WTO Dispute Settlement?’, (2004) 7 Journal of International Economic Law 2.

83 Appellate Report United States – Import Prohibition of Certain Shrimp and Shrimp Products, adopted 21 November 2001, AB-2001-4, WT/DS58/AB/R, at para. 106. The European Communities – Measures Affecting Asbestos and Products Containing Asbestos case (DS135) was also of great importance; see especially WTO Appellate Body Communication, 8 November 2000, WTO Doc. WT/DS135/9; and Minutes of the Meeting of the General Council Held on 22 November 2000, 23 January 2001, WTO Doc. WT/GC/M/60.

84 Lately it has seen a remarkable increase in business, which is not least due to its flexibility and significant changes in the rules that can be applied under its auspices. At present, 29 cases are pending, more than ever before, accessible at

85 Romak (Romak SA (Switzerland) v. Uzbekistan), PCA Case No. AA 280, UNCITRAL Award of 26 November 2009, at para. 171.

86 Abyei Arbitration (Government of Sudan/The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army), Award of 22 July 2009, at para. 767.

87 Stein, T. L., ‘Jurisprudence and Jurists’ Prudence: The Iranian-Forum Clause Decisions of the Iran–U.S. Claims Tribunal’, (1984) 78 AJIL 1, at 48 (‘a tribunal that opts out of the task of normative elaboration makes it more difficult for later tribunals to rely on law as a source of legitimation. The law remains embryonic, untextured, calcified’).

88 See the jurisprudence analysed in detail in Aldrich, G. H., The Jurisprudence of the Iran–United States Claims Tribunal (1996); also C. Pinto, ‘Iran–United States Claims Tribunal’, in Wolfrum, supra note 3. See Iran v. United States (Case No. B1), 38 Iran-USCTR (2000–1), paras. 84–88 and 113–115.

89 Payandeh, M., Internationales Gemeinschaftsrecht (2010), 131 and 446; Paulus, A., Die internationale Gemeinschaft im Völkerrecht (2001); Simma, B., ‘From Bilateralism to Community Interest in International Law’, (1994) 250 Recueil des cours 221.

90 von Bogdandy, A. and Dellavalle, S., ‘Universalism Renewed: Habermas’ Theory of International Order in Light of Competing Paradigms’, (2009) 10 German Law Journal 5; J. von Bernstorff and I. Venzke, ‘Ethos, Ethics and Morality in International Relations’, in Wolfrum, supra note 3.

91 Lammasch, H., ‘Die Lehre von der Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit in ihrem ganzen Umfange’, in Stier-Somlo, F. (ed.), Handbuch des Völkerrechts Bd. V (1914), 36. Fried, A., Handbuch der Friedensbewegung (1905), 262–5.

92 ‘Projet de règlement pour la procédure arbitrale internationale’, (1875) Justicia et Pace Institut de Droit International, Session de la Haye, available at; cf. M. Koskenniemi, The Gentle Civilizer of Nations (2001), 39–41.

93 Koskenniemi, supra note 92, at 41.

94 Sure enough, the new international law of the civilized world was also shaped by colonial exploitation and European imperialism.

95 Cf. Koskenniemi, M., ‘The Ideology of International Adjudication and the 1907 Hague Conference’, in Daudet, Y. (ed.), Topicality of the 1907 Hague Conference (2008), 127.

96 Scott, supra note 63; R. Prakash Anand, International Courts and Contemporary Conflicts (1974), 33.

97 Wehberg, H., Das Problem eines internationalen Staatengerichtshofes (1912), 11.

98 Ibid., at 11–12; M. O. Hudson, Progress in International Organization (1981), 80; Lauterpacht, H., The Development of International Law by the Permanent Court of International Justice (1934), 4568.

99 N. Politis, La justice internationale (1924), 182. Cf. Koskenniemi, supra note 95.

100 Spiermann, supra note 66, at 394.

101 T. D. Gill, Rosenne's The World Court (2003); Jennings, supra note 57, paras. 6 and 30; G. Abi-Saab, ‘The International Court as a World Court’, in V. Lowe and M. Fitzmaurice, Fifty Years of the ICJ (1996), 3–16. Cf.

102 Corfu Channel Case (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland v. Albania), Merits, Judgment of 25 March 1948, [1948] ICJ Rep. 4, at 35; Compare Certain German Interests in Polish Upper Silesia, Merits, Judgment of 25 May 1925, Series A, No. 7, p. 19. Cf. Mosler, H., ‘The International Society as a Legal Community’, (1974) 140 Recueil des cours 1, at 28–32 and 189–91.

103 Case Concerning Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America), Judgment of 6 November 2003, [2003] ICJ Rep. 161.

104 Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004, [2004] ICJ Rep. 136.

105 McWhinney, supra note 58, at 191; Cançado Trindade, A. A., International Law for Humankind: Towards a New Jus Gentium (2010).

106 Cançado Trindade, supra note 105.

107 Bates, E., The Evolution of the European Convention on Human Rights (2010).

108 Golder v. United Kingdom, Report of the European Commission of Human Rights, adopted 1 June 1973, No. 4451/70, at 16, para. 15.

109 Tyrer v. United Kingdom, Judgment (Merits) of 25 April 1978, ECHR, Ser. A No. 26, at para. 31. Cf. Bernhardt, R., ‘Evolutive Treaty Interpretation: Especially of the European Convention on Human Rights’, (1999) 42 German Yearbook of International Law 11.

110 Loizidou v. Turkey, Judgment (Preliminary Objections) of 23 March 1995, ECHR, Ser. A No. 310, at para. 75.

111 Ireland v. United Kingdom, Judgment (Plenary) of 18 January 1978, ECHR, Ser. A No. 25, at para. 154.

112 L. Burgorgue-Larsen, ‘El Sistema Interamericano de Protección de los Derechos Humanos entre Clasicismo y Creatividad’, in von Bogdandy, Landa Arroyo, and Morales Antoniazzi, supra note 47, at 287, 311; Binder, supra note 51.

113 Barrios Altos v. Peru, Judgment (Merits) of 14 March 2001, I/A Court HR, Ser. C No. 75; La Cantuta v. Peru, Judgment (Merits, Reparations and Costs) of 29 November 2006, I/A Court HR Ser. C No. 162; Almonacid Arellano y otros v. Chile, Judgment (Preliminary Objections, Merits, Reparations and Costs) of 26 September 2006, I/A Court HR (Ser. C No. 154).

114 Kreß, C., ‘The International Criminal Court as a Turning Point in the History of International Criminal Justice’, in Cassese, A. (ed.), Oxford Companion to International Criminal Justice (2009), 143.

115 UNSC Res. 827 (25 May 1993), UN Doc. S/RES/827.

116 Kuhli, M. and Günther, K., ‘Judicial Lawmaking, Discourse Theory, and the ICTY on Belligerent Reprisals’, (2011) 12 German Law Journal 1261; Swart, M., ‘Judicial Lawmaking at the Ad Hoc Tribunals: The Creative Use of the Sources of International Law and ‘Adventurous Interpretation’, (2010) 70 Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 459; Marston Danner, A., ‘When Courts Make Law: How the International Criminal Tribunals Recast the Laws of War’, (2006) 59 Vanderbilt Law Review 1.

117 Prosecutor v. Aleksovski, supra note 33, para. 113.

118 Prosecutor v. Anto Furundzija, Judgment, Case No. IT-95–17/1-T, T.Ch, 10 December 1998, at para. 183.

119 Condorelli, L., ‘La cour pénale internationale: Un pas de géant (pourvu qu'il soit accompli. . .)’, (1999) 103 Revue générale de droit international public 7; Kleinlein, T., ‘Between Myths and Norms: Constructivist Constitutionalism and the Potential of Constitutional Principles in International Law’, (2012) 81 Nordic Journal of International Law 79, at 84.

120 A. Cassese, ‘The Rationale for International Criminal Justice’, in Cassese, supra note 114, 123, at 127.

121 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1833 UNTS 3, Art. 293(1) (UNCLOS).

122 UNCLOS, supra note 121, Preamble and Arts. 136–49

123 UNCLOS, supra note 121, Arts. 73 and 292.

124 See, e.g., The ‘Juno Trader’ Case (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines v. Guinea-Bissau), Prompt Release Judgment of 18 December 2004, ITLOS Reports 2004, at 17, paras. 76–77.

125 See Keohane, R. and Nye, J., International Relations Theory: Power and Interdependence (2000).

126 R. Findle and K. H. O'Rourke, Power and Plenty (2007).

127 Weiler, J. H. H., ‘The Geology of International Law – Governance, Democracy and Legitimacy’, (2004) 64 Zeitschrift für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht 547.

128 The Case of the S.S. Lotus, supra note 67.

129 J. N. Rosenau and E. O. Czempiel (eds.), Governance without Government (1992); A. M. Slaughter, A New World Order (2004).

130 Fischer-Lescano, A. and Teubner, G., ‘Regime–Collisions: The Vain Search for Legal Unity in the Fragmentation of Global Law’, (2004) 25 Michigan Journal of International Law 999; Koskenniemi, M. and Leino, P., ‘Fragmentation of International Law? Postmodern Anxieties’, (2002) 15 LIJL 553.

131 Howse, R., ‘From Politics to Technocracy – and Back Again: The Fate of the Multilateral Trading Regime’, (2002) 96 AJIL 94; Weiler, J. H. H., ‘The Rule of Law and the Ethos of Diplomats: Reflections on the Internal and External Legitimacy of WTO Dispute Settlement’, (2002) 13 American Review of International Arbitration 177; Cf. Venzke, I., ‘Making General Exceptions: The Spell of Precedents in Developing Article XX GATT into Standards for Domestic Regulatory Policy’, (2011) 12 German Law Journal 1111.

132 Appellate Report United States – Standards for Reformulated and Conventional Gasoline, adopted 20 May 1996, AB-1996-1, WT/DS2/9, at 17.

133 Ruiz Fabri, H., ‘About the Sense and Direction of Multilateralism in International Trade Law’, in Hestermeyer, al. (eds.), Coexistence, Cooperation and Solidarity. Liber Amicorum Rüdiger Wolfrum (2012), 281.

134 DSU, supra note 27, Arts. 16(4) and 17(14).

135 Howse, R., ‘Adjudicative Legitimacy and Treaty Interpretation in International Trade Law’, in Weiler, J. H. H. (ed.), The EU, the WTO and the NAFTA: Towards a Common Law of International Trade? (2000), 35.

136 Appellate Report United States – Final Anti-Dumping Measures on Stainless Steel from Mexico, adopted 20 May 2008, AB-2008-1, WT/DS344, at para. 162; Cf. Appellate Report United States – Continued Existence and Application of Zeroing Technology, adopted 19 February 2009, AB-2008-11, WT/DS350, paras 362–365.

137 Stewart, R. B. and Sanchez-Badin, M. R., ‘The World Trade Organization and Global Administrative Law’, in Joerges, C. and Petersmann, E. U., Constitutionalism, Multilevel Trade Governance and International Economic Law (2011), at 457, 467.

138 Consider specifically the case law on 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 55 UNTS 187, Art. X(3), on the ‘uniform, impartial and reasonable’ administration of trade regulations, the yet more elaborate obligations of 1994 General Agreement on Trade in Services, 1869 UNTS 183, Art. VI, in this regard, and finally the now growing case law centred on the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. For the latter, see for instance Appellate Report United States – Measures Affecting the Production and Sale of Clove Cigarettes, adopted 24 April 2012, AB-2012-1, WT/DS406.

139 See Dolzer, R. and Schreuer, C., Principles of International Investment Law (2008), 18.

140 Alvarez, J. and Khamsi, K., ‘The Argentine Crisis and Foreign Investors: A Glimpse into the Heart of the Investment Regime’, in Sauvant, K. P. (ed.), Yearbook of International Investment Law & Policy (2009), 379.

141 Dolzer and Schreuer, supra note 139, at 149. For an example from practice which is controversial precisely for its functional reasoning, see Abaclat and others v. Argentine Republic, Decision on Jurisdiction and Admissibility of 4 August 2011, ICSID Case No. ARB/07/5, especially at para. 583. Compare the strong dissenting opinion by George Abi-Saab in this case.

142 Schill, supra note 40.

143 Saipem S.p.A. v. The People's Republic of Bangladesh, Award of 30 June 2009, ICSID Case No. ARB/05/7, para. 80.

144 See, e.g., CMS Gas Transmission Company v. Argentine Republic, Decision of the ad hoc Committee on the Application for Annulment of the Argentine Republic of 25 September 2007, ICSID Case No. ARB/01/8; Sempra Energy International v. Argentine Republic, Decision on the Argentine Republic's Request for Annulment of the Award, 29 June 2010, ICSID Case No. ARB/02/16. For a critique of the legal arguments underpinning this arguable trend, see Schreuer, C., ‘From ICSID Annulment to Appeal: Half Way Down the Slippery Slope’, (2011) 10 Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals 211, at 225.

145 Von Bogdandy and Venzke, supra note 2.

* Armin von Bogdandy [] is Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law (MPIL), Heidelberg, Professor of Law at the Goethe University, Frankfurt, and President of the OECD Nuclear Energy Tribunal; Ingo Venzke [] is a Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL), University of Amsterdam. Both authors thank the journal's anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and Simon Hentrei for his assistance in finalizing the manuscript.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Leiden Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0922-1565
  • EISSN: 1478-9698
  • URL: /core/journals/leiden-journal-of-international-law
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 24
Total number of PDF views: 509 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 975 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.