40 NYU Journal of International Law and Politics (2007)

Preface: Studying the Armed Activities Decision

Benedict Kingsbury and J.H.H. Weiler

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The decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo v. Uganda), issued on December 19, 2005, has been the subject of a trickle of thoughtful commentary. But in the years immediately following its issuance, this decision received much less scholarly attention than did the Court’s decisions in some other cases, including those in which the scale of the military force and human misery involved was not nearly so great. It is not difficult to conceive of reasons why this case has drawn much less scholarly engagement than other decisions concerning the use of force, particularly the Military and Paramilitary Activities in and Against Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. United States of America) judgment of 1986 and the Oil Platforms (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America) judgment of 2003. In global jurisprudence, outside a small group of African scholars, African affairs receive less weight and critical consideration than they merit — a phenomenon mirrored in most spheres of academia, media, and policy punditry.