No Sword, No Purse, No Power: The International Court of Justice in International Relations
Boulos, Anna M.
- The power of domestic judiciaries to influence national governance has led to academic and political speculation about the role of international law in regulating international relations. This intersection between international law (IL) and international relations (IR) is a relatively new, albeit particularly relevant area of study, given that IR theories may have predictive power in identifying t... read morehe ability of international courts to influence international politics. For example, in the field of international relations, realists assert that international law is not a primary factor in state behavior, whereas constructivists and liberals believe international law can temper the anarchic nature of international politics. Similarly, in international law theory, skeptics believe international law will always be subordinate to international politics; but optimists believe it can govern state behavior. Using these, and other assumptions from IR and IL theories, this thesis investigates whether the International Court of Justice (ICJ) actively influences state behavior, and under which circumstances the Court is more/les influential. Specifically, by sampling 56 ICJ cases, this thesis examines variation in the Court's influence based on the size of the litigating states, material interests of the case, norm type, and source of law. The findings suggest there is variation among these variables in terms of predicting ICJ influence; with litigant disparity and material interests being most strongly, and negatively, correlated with the influence of the Court. More research is needed before affirming the regulative role of international law in state behavior.read less