Research Handbook on International Courts and Tribunals
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Research Handbook on International Courts and Tribunals

Edited by William A. Schabas and Shannonbrooke Murphy

This collection takes a thematic and interpretive, system-wide and inter-jurisdictional comparative approach to the debates and controversies related to the growth of international courts and tribunals. By providing a synthetic overview and critical analysis of these developments from a variety of perspectives, it both contextualizes and stimulates future research and practice in this rapidly developing field.
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Chapter 10: Enforcement

Richard Frimpong Oppong and Angela M. Barreto


A recent feature in the landscape of international law is the international and regional courts that allow individuals to bring claims against states. This chapter examines the enforcement of judgments obtained by individuals who successfully litigate before such international courts. It argues that the right to litigate before international courts has not been matched by the institution of a regime that would ensure the effective enforcement of judgments obtained from these courts. While there exist robust and well-tested regimes for enforcing foreign judgments before national courts, no such regime exists with respect to judgments from international courts. The chapter argues that the current mechanisms for enforcing international judgments such as the use of international non-judicial institutions (for example, the United Nations Security Council), self-help, diplomacy and negotiations were designed for inter-state international litigation and are ill-suited for claims brought against states by individuals before international courts. The chapter argues that, for individuals, more judicial and less political methods of enforcement are needed, and the option of using national courts to enforce international judgments is one of the surest ways of enhancing the effectiveness of international judgments, even though it has its own challenges. KEYWORDS: international courts; individual claims; judgment enforcement; self-help; diplomacy and negotiations; national courts

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