International Court

  1. Disputes Settlement as a function of international courts

According to Alter (2014), there are three main functions of the international courts. These functions are dispute settlement, enforcement of international law and administrative and constitutional review (Alter, 2014). Almost 80% of the energy and resources in the international courts is applied in the maintenance of international justice through the enforcement and the review processes. The two major functions are therefore the enforcement and the review of the application of international law. However, different from these two functions is the dispute settlement function.

Alter describes the dispute resolution function of the international courts as the archetypical role of the courts. This function applies to all states with legalized and non-legalized treaties regardless of their subscription to the international law being applied. The disputes may, therefore, be looked into depending on a standing law or agreement or treaty that may exist in writing. Further, dispute settlement in the international courts is the last avenue for finding peace between parties involved in dispute. It is used as the last resort after all other avenues have been exhausted without favorable results. This is different from the enforcement, applications and review of law functions since these others are priority functions. Another different between dispute settlement role and other roles of the international courts is that the former is initiated by the parties in dispute as part of a general or economic system of the agreement (Alter, 2014).

  1. Dispute Settlement in Theory and Practice

In theory, the international court system consists of arms that monitor treaties and dispute situations and advice the parties involved in settlements outside the court. The parties mostly focused on are those who are members and subscribers to the rule of law being upheld by the court. When the parties are unable to reach a resolution without the interference of the court, then the court interferes by first proposing inclusion into the resolution talks and if this fail, then one of the parties or an external party that is interested may validly present the case before the court thus warranting court settlement. Consequently, the international courts have jurisdiction to hear cases that are validly presented. This means that it is in theory expected that such cases will involve the application of the other functions of the international court, enforcement, and review and hence the resolution will be based on the international law provisions. Practically, however, most of the disputes that are brought to the international court are significantly reduced to mere contracts disputes of international interest. The dispute settlement role, therefore, becomes a tertiary role in legal matters. This practical system allows for free-and-fair business dealings between states and countries without the interference of the court (Alter, 2014). The parties only come to the court when all other avenues are exhausted, and even then, no legal compulsions are exercised, and this promotes goodwill in business which is a value added.

  1. Law Enforcement

The emergent of international law necessitated the formation of international courts to enforce the law. This function of international courts is held in high regard and considered the most important by the international community. In fact, this is the function that is the most facilitated and resourced. The international court enforces the law through several active mechanisms.

The international court as a legal department has scholars and experts in the international law who helps interpret the laws and advise the court on the expected conduct of nations, states, and individuals in line with the international law. This advisory sets the threshold for legal conduct and guides the review process. In each region, the court has representatives who champion for legal conduct thus prescribed and monitor the conduct of the local system. In addition, these representative advise the governments on the international law and how to comply with new and existing laws.

The court also reviews the practice of the nations and advice on the best legal actions to be taken. In cases where the states or nations in question fail to observe the prescribed conduct, the court has the role to bring the parties to book and to charge them with illegal actions and conducts. Further, the court has experts who are also in a position to present the case in other courts and tribunals to support the illegality or lack of it in various cases. This monitoring, review, and prosecutions serve as examples to other countries and help in the enforcement roles of the court.





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