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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

3 - The International Court of Justice as an Integrator, Developer and Globaliser of International Human Rights Law


This chapter analyses how the International Court of Justice (ICJ) engages with human rights in international law. It first introduces a novel three-dimensional typology: the ICJ as an integrator, developer and globaliser of human rights. The ICJ as an ‘integrator’ of human rights focuses on the extent to which the ICJ has contributed to the integration of human rights into the corpus of international law as humanising or constitutional principles. The ICJ as a ‘developer’ reviews the contributions of the Court to the development of international human rights law as a branch of international law. The ICJ as a ‘globaliser’ examines how the ICJ assumes and globalizes the interpretation of international human rights law by specialised, often regional, human rights bodies. The Chapter argues that human rights at the ICJ do not have a coherent or progressive trajectory over time. Instead, developments are piecemeal, case sensitive and reflect deep disagreements on the role of human rights in general international law. The ICJ fares better as a globaliser of existing human rights law. Yet, it is s reluctant to offer an unambiguous constitutional place to human rights in its case law.