Leuven Global Governance series
Edited by Geert De Baere and Jan Wouters
Chapter 12: Epilogue: Curb, channel and coordinate: The constitutionalisation of international courts and tribunals
The growth in number and caseload of international courts and tribunals (ICs) over the last 35 years is striking. Consider: in 1980, only three of the nine ICs presented in this volume existed. Some scholars link the surge to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the hopes of that event for a new international legal order. The contributions in this volume elaborate in fascinating ways both the potential and the pitfalls of this cascade of ICs. They were set up to promote multifarious objectives, without much attention to the risks of fragmentation within and among them, their potential for ‘hollowing out’ the sovereignty of their creators, or the new risks they created. No surprise that concerns have blossomed about the legitimacy of these ICs, singly and as a ‘global judiciary’ as they multiply, come of age and gain institutional interests and momentum. Jointly, they have become so powerful and autonomous that they cannot be reined in – nor explained nor assessed – simply as the creators of their masters. Yet many of them still appear unable to meet the – possibly unrealistic – aspirations of their creators and other ‘compliance communities’. From the vantage point of normative political philosophy the preceding chapters offer several lessons and further research questions of how to assess and promote the legitimacy of these ICs.
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