The International Court of Justice: As a Partner in Preventive Diplomacy

By Schwebel, Stephen M.; Prager, Dietmar | UN Chronicle, Summer 1999 | Go to article overview

The International Court of Justice: As a Partner in Preventive Diplomacy


Schwebel, Stephen M., Prager, Dietmar, UN Chronicle


The International Court of Justice (ICJ) plays a part in the peaceful settlement of international disputes, in furtherance of the first purpose of the United Nations: "to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace". The Court fulfils this role not only by its function of adjudication of international disputes - disputes which, if unresolved, might lead to a breach of the peace but, far more often, disputes which are an element of the routine interaction of international relations. On occasion, the Court's judicial activity is complemented by political methods of dispute settlement by the parties to the dispute and by UN organs other than the Court, which is "the principal judicial organ of the United Nations".

The ICJ is not a substitute for the UN Security Council. The treasured ideal of the early peace movement of this century - that resort to international adjudication would prevent the outbreak of war - proved to be unrealistic. Far from international adjudication generally preventing war, it is peace that conduces to the settlement of inevitable international disputes by adjudication. The Permanent Court of International Justice flourished in the 1920s, in a decade of detente, and declined in the 1930s, with the rise of international tensions provoked by the Axis Powers. Since the end of the cold war, the ICJ has had a heavier docket than ever before.

International disputes often comprise various aspects: political, legal, economic, social and other. Some disputes may be best settled if legal and other methods of settlement are deployed in a complementary way; at the same time, a court - not least an international court - must act in response solely to legal considerations. The ICJ has shown itself able to work together with political organs of the United Nations while preserving its judicial integrity. At times, recourse to the Court has promoted a negotiated settlement of the dispute by the parties themselves. Indeed, on occasion, the mere threat of recourse to the Court,express or implied, by one party to a dispute has moved the other party towards a negotiated solution.

The ICJ and the Security Council may act as partners in the maintenance of international peace and security. While the UN Charter confers on the Council "primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security", the Court may and on several occasions has become involved in the same dispute. The Court then deals with and resolves legal aspects of the dispute; the Security Council handles the political aspects.

This complementarity was illustrated by concurrent recourse to both the Council and the Court when United States diplomats were held hostage in Teheran. It was confirmed again in the case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua, where the ICJ held that: "The Council has functions of a political nature assigned to it, whereas the Court exercises purely judicial functions. Both organs can, therefore, perform their separate but complementary functions with respect to the same events."

There have been a number of other instances in which the Court and the Security Council acted together. The conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of them. While the Council was seeking to achieve a political solution to the conflict. Bosnia brought to the Court the grave legal question of whether the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was acting in breach of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Court. in an Order indicating provisional measures (i.e., an interim injunction), called on Yugoslavia to "take all measures within its power to prevent commission of the crime of genocide". The Council, in turn, took note of this Order, which was followed by another reiterating provisional measures and a judgment rejecting Yugoslavia's objections to the Court's jurisdiction. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The International Court of Justice: As a Partner in Preventive Diplomacy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.