The International Court of Justice

Authored by: Sara McLaughlin Mitchell , Andrew P. Owsiak

Routledge Handbook of Judicial Behavior

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138913356
eBook ISBN: 9781315691527
Adobe ISBN:


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What is the International Court of Justice (ICJ)? How does it operate? Has it been successful? We address each of these questions in the current chapter. We begin by discussing the origin, organization, and purpose of the ICJ, as well as its effects on international law and politics generally. Then, we examine and assess the ICJ’s track record, concluding that it has been successful along numerous metrics. The ICJ, for example, hears highly salient cases (i.e., those on territorial, river, and maritime claims to sovereignty); consistently receives new cases from disputing states; decides cases within a moderate amount of time; obtains high compliance rates from litigants; and fosters dispute resolution not only through the cases it hears, but also by deterring new disputes and encouraging non-violent dispute settlement outside the courtroom. Empirical data, as well as a synthesis of scholarly research, supports each of these points. Finally, we end by offering suggestions about potential avenues for future research.

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