Unit 2: International Courts and Tribunals

Unit 2 explores the role played by international courts and tribunals in international law.

Reading Guide


Benedict Kingsbury, International Courts: Uneven Judicialization in Global Order (2011)

Roberto Serrano and Allan M. Feldman, Game Theory (2010)


I. The International Court of Justice

A. The Court and Its Jurisdiction: Overview

1. UN Charter, Arts. 92-96
2. Statute of the ICJ, Arts. 36 & 65
3. Hugh Thirlway, “The International Court of Justice” in Evans (ed.), International Law (2nd ed., 2006), pp 559-65

B. Problems of Jurisdiction and Admissibility in Contentious Cases

1. Hugh Thirlway, “The International Court of Justice” in Evans (ed.), International Law (2nd ed., 2006), pp 566-73

2. The Interhandel Case (Switzerland v. USA) (1959)

3. Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. USA)

a. Extracts from judgment on jurisdiction and admissibility (1984)
b. Statements of the U.S.

4. Case Concerning Legality of Use of Force (Serbia and Montenegro v. France), including joint declaration and separate opinion.

4A. Questions Relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal)

a. Convention against Torture, Arts. 5, 6, 7, 30
b. Press release re judgment of 20 July 2012 (extracts) (read this for a summary of the parties’ submissions and the background facts)
c. Extracts from judgment (2012)
d. Dissenting opinion of Judge Xue
e. Declaration of Judge Donoghue
f. Habre Trial at the Extraordinary African Chambers

5. Additional Materials

a. Example of Special Agreement Referring Jurisdiction:

i. US-Canada Agreement (Gulf of Maine case)
ii. Belize-Guatemala Special Agreement Including Provisions on Referenda

a) Note on Belize-Guatemala Dispute
b) Belize-Guatemala Agreement (referenda nowprojected to occur before end 2013)

b. Examples of Compromissory Clauses in Treaties:

i. Vienna Convention on Consular Relations Optional Protocol Article I
ii. Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft Article 12
iii. Example of dispute arising under a compromissory clause: Macedonia v. Greece (note press release re Dec. 2011 judgment)

c. Examples of Declarations Under Optional Clause:

i. UK Declaration
ii. Somalia Declaration

d. Example of forum prorogatum:

i. France Consent to Jurisdiction in Application by Djibouti

C. Provisional Measures

1. Hugh Thirlway, “The International Court of Justice” in Evans (ed.), International Law (2nd ed., 2006), pp 574-6
2. LaGrand Case (Germany v. U.S.A. )
3. Georgia v. Russia (note press release re Apr. 2011 judgment holding no jurisdiction)(note also judgment of European Court of Human Rights on Georgia v. Russia, 53 ILM 813 (2014))
4. Ongoing hostilities regarding Temple of Preah Vihear: press releases re Cambodia’s request for interpretation of 1962 judgment/provisional measures and ICJ’s indication of provisional measures in Jul. 2011; dissenting opinions of Judges Xue and Donoghue.

5. John Ciociari, Request for Interpretation of the Judgment of 15 June 1962 in the Case Concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear (Cambodia v Thailand) 108 AJIL 288 (2014)

D. Necessary Parties to Contentious Cases

1. The East Timor Case

a. The East Timor Case (Portugal v. Australia)
b. Map 1 related to East Timor case
c. Map 2 related to East Timor case
d. Application Instituting Proceedings: Questions Relating to the Seizure and Detention of Certain Documents and Data (Timor-Leste v. Australia)
e. Donald K. Anton, ASIL Insight on 2013 Timor-Leste Application

E. The Court’s Advisory Jurisdiction

1. Hugh Thirlway, “The International Court of Justice” in Evans (ed.), International Law (2nd ed., 2006), pp 582-4
2. Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons (1996) (note Resolution of the World Health Organization to seek Advisory Opinion)
3. Note on the Marshall Islands Case
4. Legal Consequences of the Wall in Palestinian Territories(2004) (note release of Israeli Supreme Court decision 1 week prior to ICJ rendering judgment)
5. Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations (1948)

F. Impact of International Court of Justice Decisions

1. Pieter H. F. Bekker, Case Note on Land and Maritime Boundary Between Cameroon and Nigeria (ICJ 2002)
2. Nigeria transfers Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon, BBC News, August 2008


II. International Criminal Tribunals

 A. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

1. Prosecutor v. Tadic

2. *** Additional Materials ***

a. Security Council Resolution 808 (establishing ICTY)
b. ICTY Updated Statute (September 2009)
c. ICTY Annual Report to General Assembly (2011)

B. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

1. Security Council Resolution 955 (establishing ICTR)
2. *** Additional Materials ***

a. UNAMIR Background
b. Romeo Dallaire fax
c. State Department Legal Memo on Genocide in Rwanda
d. 2011 International Justice Tribune Commentary on Last Major ICTR Judgments

C. The International Criminal Court

1. The ICC Statute: Summary of Key Provisions
2. Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998)

[Concentrate on: Articles 11-19 (jurisdiction & admissibility; summary role of the prosecutor), Article 21 (applicable law), Articles 34-36 (responsibilities, qualifications, election of judges), Article 42, 54 (responsibilities of the Office of the Prosecutor), Articles 86-90 (obligation to cooperate with ICC, surrender of persons to ICC), Article 120 (no reservations to Statute of the ICC), Article 123 (amendments to and review of statute every 7 years), Article 124 (7 year transitional period for new parties to Statute)]

3. Theodor Meron, The Court We Want (Oct. 13, 1998)
4. US-Uzbekistan Article 98 Agreement (one of over a hundred such agreements signed by the US)
5. ICC Annual Report to General Assembly 2010-2011
6. ICC Office of the Prosecutor, Prosecutorial Strategy 2009-2012

D. Hybrid Courts

1. Background: “Hybrid International Criminal Tribunals” in Mackenzie, Romano & Shany (eds), The Manual on International Courts and Tribunals (2nd ed., 2010) (available on Blackboard).

*** Additional Materials ***

2. Special Court for Sierra Leone

    a. SC Resolution 1315 (2000) and Agreement between UN and Sierra Leone establishing Court
b. Statute of the Special Court for Sierra Leone
c. Press release on SC Resolution 1688 (2006), providing for trial of Charles Taylor in the Hague
d. Annual Report 2010-2011

3. Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia

a. Agreement between UN and Royal Government of Cambodia concerning establishment of Extraordinary Chambers
b. Law on the Establishment of Extraordinary Chambers (as amended 2004)
c. “The Court Report”, Dec. 2011 ed.
d. Douglas Gillison, Genocide Judges Duel It Out in Phnom Penh (Dec. 6, 2011)

4. Special Tribunal for Lebanon

    a. SC Resolution 1757 and Annexes (Agreement between UN and the Lebanese Republic and Statute of the STL)
b. Annual Report 2010-2011

E. Truth Commissions

1. John Dugard, Dealing with Crimes of a Past Regime: Is Amnesty Still an Option?

2. *** Additional Materials ***

a. Darryl Robinson, Serving the Interests of Justice: Amnesties, Truth Commissions and the International Criminal Court
b. Juan Mendez, National Reconciliation, Transitional Justice and the International Criminal Court

F. NGO Participation in International Criminal Tribunals

1. Human Rights Watch Report: How NGOs Can Contribute to the Prosecution of War Criminals (p. 14-18)


III. International Economic Tribunals