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Copyright (c) 1997 Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Journal 
Loyola of Los Angeles International & Comparative Law Review

ARTICLE: The Role of the World Court in Settling International Disputes: A Recent Assessment

November, 1997

20 Loy. L.A. Int'l & Comp. L.J. 1


Susan W. Tiefenbrun*


This Article examines the role of the International Court of Justice (World Court) 1 as the principal judicial body of the United Nations. 2 In an attempt to evaluate the World Court's effectiveness as a forum for settling international disputes, this Article examines the current role of the court in light of its past record. Given the significant changes in the global political climate, the development of other international tribunals, the heightened use of international arbitration to settle disputes, and the increased activity of the World Court in its advisory capacity, an understanding of the future role of the World Court in settling international disputes is vital for those engaged in international law or politics.

Many have criticized the World Court's effectiveness in the past. 3 Its record dramatically improved, however, in 1991 after the fall of Communism in the former Soviet Union and in much of Eastern Europe. Earlier, during the Nicaraguan dispute in 1985, the United States adopted a highly negative view towards the World Court, echoing the critical sentiments of numerous nations. The United States believed that the World Court was politically motivated rather than impartial. 4 In addition, critics at that time called the World Court a weak, irrelevant, and even "moribund" forum. 5 Reservations about the World Court by the major world powers stemmed partly from widespread questioning of contemporary international law. 6 Before the fall of Communism, many viewed international law as the product of European imperialism and the ...
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