Political Constraints on International Courts

Tom Ginsburg

The complicated relationship between politics and law has long been a central concern among international lawyers. The project of international law has, for more than a century, sought to construct a zone for autonomous legal decision-making, immune from political considerations, to solve international disputes. Yet the context of international adjudication is, almost by definition, an intensely political one, and the efficacy of international law requires some consideration of that context. International disputes frequently involve high stakes, and so the dream of autonomous law providing technically correct solutions to resolve problems has always confronted the hard realities of international politics.