Global Governance of the Environment
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Global Governance of the Environment

Environmental Principles and Change in International Law and Politics

Afshin Akhtarkhavari

This timely book examines the role of environmental principles in changing international environmental law and politics, and argues for the importance of integrating environmental principles in the global governance of the environment.
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Chapter 6: Power, Environmental Principles and the International Court of Justice

Afshin Akhtarkhavari

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6. Power, environmental principles and the International Court of Justice INTRODUCTION 6.1 Institutions like the International Court of Justice (ICJ) do not just solve disputes based on what the parties to a case have argued as the right and wrong interpretations of the law and the facts of the case.1 Functionalist approaches to courts and dispute resolution bodies can appear disparagingly uninterested in the political character of their work.2 This is partly symptomatic of the idea that institutions, especially dispute resolution bodies, are meant to apply their authority without bias or dispositions that favour anything outside their immediate jurisdiction.3 Courts are meant to apply rules in a neutral and direct way and anything else is viewed as an inappropriate exercise of their power.4 This is hardly the case and an abundance of research has shown it to be otherwise.5 When the ICJ, for 1 For a general overview of the role of the ICJ in dispute resolution internationally see John Merrills, International Dispute Settlement (4th ed, 2006); John Collier and Vaughan Lowe, The Settlement of Disputes in International Law: Institutions and Procedures (1999) especially ch 7. 2 On a critique of the functionalist reaction to international organisations see Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore, ‘The power of liberal international organizations’ in Michael Barnett and Raymond Duvall (eds), Power in Global Governance (2005) 161. 3 Ibid, 175. See also Cris Shore and Susan Wright, ‘Policy: A New Field of Anthropology’ in Cris Shore and Susan Wright (eds), Anthropology of Social Policy: Critical...

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