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The World Health Organization (WHO) is obligated to pursue the control and eradication of infectious disease. This mandate was enshrined in the 1946 constitutive treaty and has been repeatedly reinforced by World Health Assembly resolutions, programmes, and campaigns. In 1951 a purpose-built instrument – the International Sanitary Regulations – was adopted to strengthen the international organization’s means for preventing the international spread of disease while minimising disruption to international traffic and trade. The Regulations – which are now known as ‘the International Health Regulations’ (IHR) – were substantively revised in 2005 and are integral to the WHO’s mission. Importantly, however, as custodian of the revised IHR the WHO has periodically failed to take full advantage of the treaty’s provisions or use it as intended. This article discusses the importance of the IHR, the WHO’s obligations with respect to ensuring the correct functioning of the 2005 treaty, and outlines some measures that will enable the WHO to main stream the treaty and ensure fuller utilization.

In: International Organizations Law Review

This article aims to inventorize, discuss and analyze the normative output of the WHO, and aims to do so not in terms of ‘binding’ versus ‘non-binding’ instruments or ‘hard’ law versus ‘soft’ law, but in terms of the epistemic authority exercised by and through the WHO. This broader focus allows for a discussion not just of treaties and resolutions, but also of the normative effect of training courses produced by the WHO, or such documents as the World Health Reports. In the background resides the idea that there is a disjuncture between the authority exercised by international organizations, and the tools lawyers have readily available to evaluate such authority: the normative gap of the title. The article enjoins lawyers broaden their repertoire, as precisely lawyers would be well-equipped to address epistemic authority.

In: International Organizations Law Review

Abstract

With the anarchic multiplication of international courts and tribunals, and the concomitant possibility for jurisdictional and decisional conflicts among them to occur, treating the International Court of Justice as the “invisible” international supreme court seems an attractive solution. After all, it is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and the only court with universal general jurisdiction. Revisiting this proposal, the article argues that the World Court suffers not only from political (extrinsic) constraints, but also from institutional (intrinsic) limitations, thereby endangering its sociological and normative legitimacy. Nonetheless, this does not mean rectifying them for the purpose of enabling it to discharge its envisioned role as the international supreme court. Rather the problem is not so much improving the World Court, but understanding the merits of maintaining the status quo, that is, a decentralised judiciary.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

This article examines the notion of consent as an element of judicial propriety as defined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the context of its advisory function. The article situates the issue of judicial propriety within a broader conversation on the Court’s normative outlooks in international law, and examines the most recent advisory opinion on the Chagos Archipelago to understand how the Court itself views its role in international law. The article concludes that the Court’s advisory opinions do not provide much clarity as to the circumstances in which a lack of consent will become a compelling enough reason to justify a refusal to give an advisory opinion. The Court appears to ritually recite consent as a relevant element in its assessment of judicial propriety, however, it continues to limit such relevance.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

By adjudicating inter-State claims, international courts can also contribute to the protection and promotion of community interests. However, the main obstacle faced by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) relates to the existing tension between the bilateral nature of its own proceedings and the multilateral nature of the conflicting substantive law. As procedure may guide and shape the application of substantive law, it should itself be interpreted and developed in a manner to ensure community interests. By using its power to “frame rules for carrying out its functions”, the Court should assume expanded procedural powers in order to ensure the effective application of substantive law whenever community interests are at issue. Most procedural rules can be adjusted for multiparty aspects, notably the rules on third-party intervention, with the aim of protecting community interests and enhancing the Court’s legitimacy. It is up to the Court to find the balance between States’ rights and commonly aspired goals.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

Article 20(3) of the Rome Statute bars the International Criminal Court from trying a person for conduct proscribed by the Statute if the person has already been tried in relation to the same conduct before “another court,” provided that the proceedings in the other court were genuine. The article discusses application of Article 20(3) of the Rome Statute and, by implication, of the Court’s admissibility framework to non-State courts. It argues that Article 20(3) applies where there has a been a trial before a court of a State, whether that State is a party or not to the Rome Statute. Article 20(3) can in principle apply to a trial before a non-State court were the trial to satisfy the customary international law rules on attribution of conduct to a State.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

Abstract

The article offers a critical look at the complex relationship between the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and policy-supportive (scientific) evidence. In particular, due to now commonplace, evidence-based policy-making of national governments, the Court is effectively supplemented with various statistics and studies and tasked with reviewing policy measures aiming to improve the public good. This article investigates the ECtHR’s use and interpretation of policy-supportive evidence in the proportionality analysis, and how this affects the margin of appreciation. The recent case of Dubská and Krejzová concerning the ban on home births, which the article explores in detail, is illustrative in this regard. Although the Court appears to review scientific evidence substantively, an increased proliferation of statistics and studies may bring about controversy in relation to legal cases, without having a conclusive impact upon the outcome of a dispute.

In: The Law & Practice of International Courts and Tribunals

This article explores the ‘practice’ of the International Monetary Fund (‘imf’) by focusing on the organization’s approach to recognition of governments. After analysing this approach in some detail, it surveys the organization’s practice from three perspectives. First, it identifies the different functions of practice within the imf’s legal system, including the imf’s treaty. Second, the article reviews how the practice of the imf relates to key conceptions of practice under international law: (i) as part of international custom; (ii) under articles 31(3)(b) and 32 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties; and (iii) as a ‘rule of the organization’. Finally, the article compares ‘practice’ under the imf treaty and a national legal system by considering how the United States’ Supreme Court has interpreted the power to recognise governments under the USConstitution.

In: International Organizations Law Review