Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

Article Title

The Development of a United States Approach toward the International Court of Justice


This article is not designed as a history of the International Court of Justice, nor as a legal analysis of the way in which the Court functions. Rather, the purpose is to describe the attitude of the United States, i.e., the Department of State, toward the actual use of the Court in a variety of situations, some of which involved important interests of the United States and others of which did not. The concentration in this article is on the jurisdiction of the Court to give advisory opinions, since it is in connection with proposals to request such opinions that all members of the United Nations have an opportunity to express their views and to exercise their influence for or against the use of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. In most contentious cases, only the states parties to the dispute are involved, although note will be taken of certain situations in which the General Assembly or Security Council urged the parties to resort to the Court. Before dealing with the proposals to request advisory opinions, the attitude of the United States toward the use of the International Court of Justice is indicated by United States domestic law and by a series of cases in which the United States sought to secure a decision from the Court.