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Edited by Bardo Fassbender

“Key Documents on the Reform of the UN Security Council 1991-2019” brings together primary source documents reflecting the political, legal and academic discussions of the United Nations Security Council reform, in particular the Council’s membership and decision-making, as they have taken place since 1991. Earlier discussions from the late 1940s through 1991 are covered insofar as they offer a useful contribution to the current debate. This extensive collection, curated by a leading authority, is intended to be representative of the debate as a whole without bias, faithfully reflecting the positions of various stakeholders, global participants and civil society. This important work will be an indispensable resource for researchers and students, bringing together hundreds of documents produced during more than three decades by governments, UN bodies, universities, think tanks and individual authors in a single, comprehensive volume.


Edited by Nico J. Schrijver and Niels M. Blokker

Conventional wisdom has it that the successful functioning of the UN Security Council almost completely depends on the role played by its five permanent members and the extent to which they can agree—or avoid to fundamentally disagree—on the many issues on the Council’s agenda. But the Council also consists of ten non-permanent or elected members who represent five different regions of the world, and who, though not vested with the right of veto, play an indispensable role in Council decision-making.

This book aims to take a closer look at that role. It considers what role is foreseen for the elected members in the UN Charter, how this evolved in practice, what “tools” they can deploy. It also considers whether there are particular “niches” for the elected members on the Security Council, such as engaging in conflict prevention, taking initiatives on rule of law issues and debating the potential effects of climate change on peace and security. Can elected members serve as agents of the international community and norm entrepreneurs? Should their position be strengthened, and if so, how? This collection was born out of a dynamic research seminar held at Leiden University, which also drew on the experiences of former elected members. This book thus offers unique insights from both practice and scholarship, and is an indispensable tool for politicians, diplomats, academics and students alike.

General Principles of Law Recognized by Civilized Nations (1922-2018)

The Evolution of the Third Source of International Law Through the Jurisprudence of the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Court of Justice


Marija Đorđeska

In General Principles of Law Recognized by Civilized Nations (1922-2018) Marija Đorđeska offers an account of the origins, theory and practical application of the general principles in the jurisprudence of the Permanent Court of International Justice and International Court of Justice between 1922 and 2018. Are general principles rules of international law? What is their relationship to custom and treaties? What are the types of general principles and where do international courts find them? This monograph answers these and other questions and offers a detailed overview of over 150 general principles identified in the jurisprudence of the Permanent Court of International Justice and the International Court of Justice.

Neil B. Nucup


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.

Ksenia Polonskaya


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.

Paula Wojcikiewicz Almeida


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.

Gaiane Nuridzhanian


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.

Ciarán Burke and Alexandra Molitorisová


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.

The Role of Practice in International Organizations

The Case of Government Recognition by the International Monetary Fund

Lorenzo Arditi

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.