The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial body of the United Nations (UN). It settles legal disputes between countries and issues advisory opinions on legal questions. However, the enforcement of the ICJ’s judgments is a complicated process. In this blog post, we will discuss the different ways by which international court of justice judgments are enforced- reputation, retaliation, and reciprocity.
Reputation is an essential factor when it comes to enforcing international court of justice judgments. A country’s reputation is significant in the international community, and a country that chooses not to comply with an ICJ decision can be viewed as a country that does not respect international law. Hence, a country that does not follow an ICJ judgment could potentially suffer negative consequences in its international relations. At the same time, nations that abide by ICJ decisions gain significant recognition as responsible members of the international community.
Retaliation is another way through which international court of justice judgments could be enforced. The international community may impose economic or political sanctions against the noncompliant entity or country. The international legal body could impose economic sanctions such as trade restrictions, while political sanctions could include diplomatic isolation. This may often be the case when a country chooses not to accept the Court’s decision due to political, economic, or cultural reasons.
Reciprocity can be viewed as a form of retaliation or punishment. The principle refers to the idea that another state can respond to noncompliance through non-compliance with laws that are similarly binding to the country that failed to comply with an ICJ judgment. The principle of reciprocity is one that is highly relevant in the context of international relations. In fact, many States choose to respect the Principle of Reciprocity simply to avoid such retaliation for their own actions.
UN Security Council
An additional way international court of justice judgments can be enforced is through the UN Security Council. Under Article 94 of the UN Charter, member countries of the United Nations must comply with ICJ judgments. If a country does not comply with an ICJ decision, the Security Council can recommend measures. The Council’s recommendations could include military or economic sanctions, as well as the use of force as a last resort. Please visit Chapter XIV: The International Court of Justice (Articles 92-96) | United Nations
International court of justice judgments are oftentimes disputed and disregarded. However, they hold a lot of weight in the international community, and countries are expected to comply with them. The enforcement of the ICJ’s judgments is facilitated through a combination of reputation, retaliation, and reciprocity. The international community has a vested interest in upholding international law, and adhering to ICJ decisions is one way of doing that. Nevertheless, the enforcement of the ICJ decisions is not always guaranteed, and it is up to the rest of the international community to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance. To understand the mechanism of the International Court of Justice, visit A Comprehensive Comparison of the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration – Transnational Matters