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From Bilateralism to Community InterestEssays in Honour of Bruno Simma$
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Ulrich Fastenrath, Rudolf Geiger, Daniel-Erasmus Khan, Andreas Paulus, Sabine von Schorlemer, and Christoph Vedder

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588817

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588817.001.0001

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Competition among International Tribunals and the Authority of the International Court of Justice

Competition among International Tribunals and the Authority of the International Court of Justice

(p.862) Competition among International Tribunals and the Authority of the International Court of Justice
From Bilateralism to Community Interest

Pierre-Marie Dupuy

Oxford University Press

At a time of globalization reputed to be also a time of a so-called ‘fragmentation’ of international law, it is no doubt true that the absence of coordination between the numerous international jurisdictions existing at the universal and regional levels creates a danger of conflicts of international case laws. In an ideal model of vertical organic integration, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would statutorily occupy the top of an effective international judicial system, but today this is still not in existence. Even if the ICJ remains the only jurisdiction with general competence, thus giving it an unquestionable moral authority, its primacy over other courts is far from being unquestionable. As a result, when faced with potentially conflicting views from other courts, as is more and more frequently the case, the Court tries to avoid any conflict. General principles of law in the field of the procedural articulation of legal decisions can sometimes be a guide for the Court. However, they cannot in most situations be the basis for the establishment of systematically effective coordination between international judges. Empiricism and ‘courtesy’ between tribunals is thus necessary in order to allow the parties to a dispute adequately to choose the forum conveniens when several area of law are concerned. But, more than that, it is an extremely subjective element therefore fragile, that will best guarantee the coherence of the system, namely the culture of international judges and the extent to which they believe that they are part of one and the same international legal order (Section IV).

Keywords:   international courts, international law, international judicial system

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