NGOs in International Law
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NGOs in International Law

Efficiency in Flexibility?

Edited by Pierre-Marie Dupuy and Luisa Vierucci

The increasing role that NGOs play at different levels of legal relevance – from treaty-making to rule implementation, and from support to judges to aid delivery – calls for reconsideration of the international legal status of those organizations. This book shows that the degree of flexibility currently enjoyed by NGOs in fields as varied as human rights, the environment and the European Union development cooperation policy constitutes the best arena for all actors involved, with the consequences that the instances where more strict regulation of NGOs’ participation is desirable are very limited.
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Chapter 5: NGOs Before International Courts and Tribunals

Luisa Vierucci


Luisa Vierucci INTRODUCTION Access to justice may be seen as one of the major components, together with access to information and access to decision making, of the relations between intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and civil society.1 This element of the relationship has become increasingly crucial by reason of the proliferation of international courts and tribunals that we have been witnessing in the last 15 years. While international justice was until recently a prerogative of states, with the limited exception of some human rights treaties granting legal status to individuals, the last decade of the twentieth century saw not only the establishment of new international jurisdictions of a universal character (such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Criminal Court (ICC)), but also tribunals with limited ratione temporis jurisdiction (such as the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR)) as well as experimental hybrid courts such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Judicial proliferation coupled with enhanced international public participation calls for a re-assessment of the interrelationship between international judicial bodies and that part of civil society which is represented by NGOs.2 The chapter starts with a pragmatic approach, namely, enquiring whether NGOs are satisfied with the access to justice they are currently experiencing, and only after such a démarche does it elaborate on the desirability eventually 1 These are the three areas in which the rights of individuals and associations in the environmental field shall be protected according...

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