In its forty-fourth session the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the 1990s as the
Decade of International Law. One of the main purposes of the decade is the promotion of effective means for peaceful international dispute settlement, and, especially, strenghtening the role of and respect for the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.
The editors of this book contribute to this aim by bringing together a variety of opinions by international legal experts on peaceful dispute settlement. The subject is approached from different angles, ranging from the role of the International Law Commission and the Non-Aligned Movement to human rights and space law disputes, in order to identify areas of international law where room exists for further development of existing means for peaceful settlement of international disputes.
A general conclusion which can be drawn from this survey is that the focus of attention should not be aimed primarily at strenghtening the role of the International Court of Justice, e.g. by amending some of its rules or by trying to increase its political acceptability through diplomatic efforts. Instead, the focus should be on small scale improvements within specific areas of international law with an emphasis on the relation between dispute settlement and supervision. Furthermore, it seems essential for a real improvement to give non-governmental organisations or private persons a greater role in upholding the rule of international law, whether in domestic courts or in international fora.
This work has been published previously in the
Leiden Journal of International Law, Special Issue (3 LJIL 90).