To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This Symposium Issue looks at how personal traits of international judges matter in their judging. The articles selected shed light on the ways that international judges’ personality, that is, their character differences and personal backgrounds, shape, control, or modify their conduct and their rulings. The articles in the Symposium reveal that individual international judges have different personal attributes and identities that affect: (i) different aspects of judicial reasoning, problem-solving and case management; (ii) the ways judges interact, deliberate and affect each other in collectively deciding cases; and (iii) the outcomes of international trials. This Symposium, therefore, looks beyond the traditional ‘legal formalistic’ understanding (prevalent also among international judges themselves) that judges – as impartial, rational, and mechanical decision-makers – simply apply existing, recognized rules or principles of law to the facts and questions before a court in the context of concrete cases without regard to any personal leanings and biases. It examines how and to what extent judges at international courts make their choices conditioned on their personal identity characteristics, and when such characteristics exhibit greater or lesser effects on their decision-making.
This article explores the phenomenon of judicial dissents at the ICC. The main subject is the process of collective decision-making and judicial deliberations in cases where members of a particular ICC chamber cannot reach a consensus on factual, substantive or procedural issues and render a unanimous decision. The article examines why and when international criminal judges dissent according to the views expressed by ICC judges. Drawing heavily on field research in The Hague, the article presents a qualitative analysis of the ICC judges’ perceptions and experiences of using dissenting opinions at the Court. Empirical findings derived from interviewing ICC judges support the hypothesis that international criminal judges’ personality, that is, their character differences (such as self-discipline and other work habits), their previous career experience, and their field of expertise determine their likelihood of using judicial dissents. In case of disagreement within an ICC Chamber, judges with criminal law backgrounds who previously worked as professional judges are more likely to append their dissent to a majority ruling with which they do not agree than international judges, diplomats, and professors with public international law expertise who are more willing to discuss and negotiate in order for the Court to speak with one voice.
Chapter 4 replies to the argument that international courts who decide important policy decisions take them off the public agenda and therefore stifle public debate. The chapter explains that an international judgment is often just the entry point into a public discussion and a dialogue with the relevant authorities. In fact, the ensuing public deliberation may be superior to what would happen absent international courts' intervention. International courts shift the discussion from interests and naked power to rights, and they change the social settings in a way that processes and disseminates information well to wider segments of the public. International courts create friction with the executive, guide the legislator, and can help the national judiciary, all leading to a more vibrant debate. Finally, international courts provide numerous lawyers with vital training that they can use to better the public discourse.
Chapter 7 concludes the book by providing a wider theoretical perspective on the intervention of international courts in domestic affairs. First, the chapter compares established theories of domestic judicial review to the insights this book developed on "international judicial review" – namely intervention by international courts. The literature on domestic judicial review is rich and often inspiring, but international courts face special circumstances that make drawing comparisons with domestic judicial review a complicated undertaking. Finally, to elaborate on the special conditions faced by international courts, the chapter outlines the characteristics of the global arena today: a complicated network with links that cut across national boundaries and formal hierarchies.
Chapter 5 is focused on the risk of capture of international courts by NGOs. The chapter reviews the advantages and disadvantages of NGO involvement in international courts' proceedings either as direct applicants, through filing amicus curiae briefs, or informally. Different procedures are recommended for different international courts depending on their circumstances. The second part of the chapter is focused on the reputational sanctions NGOs can create after an international court issues its judgment. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative empirical research I conducted and on insights from Social Network Analysis, the chapter argues that international courts can create conditions in which NGOs process shaming information accurately.
Chapter 1 is the introduction to the book. The chapter starts by presenting the main arguments posed by commentators against intervention of international courts in domestic affairs. It continues with a comprehensive overview of the arguments in the following chapters. Later, the chapter fleshes out the policy implications of the book and demonstrates how the combination of arguments in different chapters can help make policy choices that can determine when international courts should intervene.
Chapter 2 addresses the legitimacy of intervention by international courts – unelected international bodies – in the decisions of democratically elected domestic officials. The chapter starts by delineating the commitment of international courts to the text of treaties that regulate their jurisdiction. It continues by explaining when expansive interpretation of these treaties is legitimate because the process of negotiation or revision of treaties gives certain countries an unjustified power to limit the treaty obligations of all member countries. Finally, the chapter explains that even if a country fully controls its treaty obligations it may not properly represent the interests of all parties affected by the treaty because of so-called democratic failures, justifying the use of expansive interpretation by international courts.
Chapter 3 targets another challenge to international courts' intervention: the argument that international courts do not make better decisions than national bodies. The chapter identifies a set of circumstances in which international courts, solely because of their institutional position and regardless of the proficiency of their judges, are actually able to make better decisions than national courts. The core of the argument is the Condorcet Jury Theorem, which suggests that a majority decision within a group is likely to be superior to the decision of each individual decision-maker, provided that each decision-maker decides independently. If national judges try to learn from comparative law, they violate the independence condition because they learn from courts who followed other courts instead of deciding independently. If, instead, national courts decide independently and an international court follows the majority position – as the European Court of Human Rights does when it uses the Emerging Consensus doctrine – the decisional benefit of the Jury Theorem is fully realized.
Chapter 6 faces the final challenge to international courts' intervention, the fear that their intervention would lead to bad outcomes because it would change the incentives of relevant parties. It is true that domestic officials operate under the shadow of potential international intervention and this may give them bad incentives. The chapter demonstrates how the rules of admissibility used by international criminal tribunals can affect the incentive of national authorities on the one hand and individuals on the other hand. Understanding the interaction of officials on several levels helps to determine which rule of admissibility, complementarity or primacy, will lead to greater deterrence of international crimes. These admissibility rules can also determine the willingness of countries to submit to the jurisdiction of international courts, to begin with.
This book is motivated by a question: when should international courts intervene in domestic affairs? To answer this question thoroughly, the book is broken down into a series of separate inquiries: when is intervention legitimate? When can international courts identify good legal solutions? When will intervention initiate useful processes? When will it lead to good outcomes? These inquiries are answered based on reviewing judgments of international courts, strategic analysis, and empirical findings. The book outlines under which conditions intervention by international courts is recommended and evaluates the implications that international courts have on society.
States have a significant influence on the selection of judges to international courts. This raises the concern that judges will be biased in favor of their home states, a concern backed by some empirical research. To counter that danger, international courts usually sit in large and diverse panels. Scholars have argued that this gives judges only rare occasions to tip the balance in favor of their home states. The problem begins, however, when judges start forming coalitions among themselves, giving judges with national biases a practical possibility to change the result of cases. To assess the magnitude of this threat to judicial independence, the paper draws on decades of scholarship in the field of judicial behavior. By understanding how judges behave, scholars can come closer to deciphering the true impact of judicial selection to international courts on international judgments.