Friday, January 14, 2005

Bias and Decline at the International Court of Justice

One of the things I think we can provide to blog readers is an insight into what international law academics are thinking and writing about. And not just what the three of us are thinking about (as valuable of course as that may be). Peggy has already gotten us started with her post about Peter Spiro's recent work. In the same vein, I thought I would point to two recent articles by Eric Posner about the International Court of Justice. The first, "Is the International Court of Justice Biased?", which does an empirical study finding bias in judges on the ICJ toward the countries that appoint them and toward countries with similar levels of wealth. The second, "The Decline of the International Court of Justice" argues that the ICJ is hearing fewer cases (relative to the number of states that exist) and tries to explain why the court is hearing fewer and fewer cases.

Both articles cast a skeptical eye on the normative claims sometimes used by enthusiasts for institutions like the ICJ. This matters for us as international lawyers because if the institutions that are charged with interpreting and developing international law have flaws, that should effect how we think about the importance of that law in general (as we have been discussing in the last few posts).

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