The New International Courts: A Bird's Eye View

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Delegation to ICs has increased rapidly since 1990, leading to a proliferation of international courts with a fundamentally different design. There are now 20 active ICs, plus eight more ICs that exist mostly on paper. "New style" international courts have compulsory jurisdiction, and often they have access for non-state actors to initiate litigation. Litigation rates for all ICs have increased since 1990. Delegation to ICs tends to cluster around three issue areas: economic issues, human rights and war crimes. And delegation to ICs is more common in Europe, Latin America and Africa. The paper documents these patterns, and develops a functional explanation of the change in IC design. ICs increasingly have compulsory jurisdiction and access for non-state actors because they are being delegated a broader variety of judicial roles. The paper identifies which ICss have been given which roles, and the design of the courts, and the politics that follow from delegation to the ICs. The analysis presents a reason to focus less on the design of ICs, and more on the roles delegated to the ICs, to understand the different policies that follow from delegation to ICs.

Last modified
  • 01/01/2019
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  • 09-001
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