The Application of Teachings by the International Court of Justice, 2016–2022
AuthorHelmersen, Sondre Torp
This article examines the application of teachings by the International Court of Justice between 2016 and 2022. The Court did not cite teachings in its majority opinions during this period. It did cite works from the International Law Commission, which suggests that these are considered different from teachings and possibly have more weight. Judges cited teachings in their individual opinions. Judge Cançado Trindade stands out as a judge with a particularly high citation rate. Teachings played a wide variety of functions in individual opinions, from the classical functions of aiding the interpretation of a treaty and the ascertainment of a rule of customary international law, to a range of other specialized functions such as the interpretation of other texts, in particular judicial decisions, methodological and historical points, and showing the purpose of a rule of instrument, in addition to providing reflections on the role of the international judiciary itself. The article also examines the demographics of the most-cited writers, finding that most of them are men from Western States. The article compares the judges’ practice with findings from prior to 2016 and other international courts and tribunals.