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National Bias and the International Court of Justice

Thomas R. Hensley
Midwest Journal of Political Science
Vol. 12, No. 4 (Nov., 1968), pp. 568-586
DOI: 10.2307/2110296
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110296
Page Count: 19
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National Bias and the International Court of Justice
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Abstract

The success of any court is dependent to a large degree upon its reputation for impartial adjudication. This has been particularly critical for the International Court of Justice, for the justices have frequently been accused of supporting the political demands of their respective countries. This study examines the voting behavior of the Court's members for the purpose of determining if the justices have been impartial. The results indicate that all of the justices have shown a disposition to favor their own countries. This pattern is not related, however, to the importance of the decisions for the countries; the justices do not show a statistically significant tendency to support their countries in decisions of greater national importance. Rather, the more subtle influence of culturally inculcated values seems to account for the propensity of the justices to vote with their own countries, and it is argued that this does not violate the criterion for impartial adjudication.

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