As international relations have become more complicated, world events have become more violent, and fewer and fewer states comply with the norms of universal justice, the question becomes whether states should be compelled to accept the jurisdiction of international courts, how would this be achieved, and what would the implications be for the international system. There are definite and logical answers for these questions. Should States be Compelled to Accept the Jurisdiction of International Courts? Simply put, states should be compelled to accept the jurisdiction of international courts; the reason why is more complicated, however.
In generations past, nations would typically be guilty of offenses that involved a dispute with one other nation as an example, and that dispute, while not ideal, would be resolved with war or in a better instance, treaties or ceasefire agreements. However, today, we find ourselves in a world where there are nations who train, prepare, and allocate huge amounts of resources to the proliferation of terrorist activities against other nations, often unprovoked and almost always with deadly results (Yarnold, 1991).
Therefore, in order to prevent nations from being destroyed by secret wars that they have virtually no defense against, the best that can be expected is that nations that are found to be responsible for terrorism against other nations be brought before international courts, and that those states be compelled to accept the jurisdiction of international courts. If the reputation spreads that would cause everyone to believe that there were no legal consequences for violations against other states, chaos and much more terrorist activity would likely be the result.
Keeping in mind that the jurisdiction of international courts is very important, the question of how compliance would be achieved is now important to understand. How Compliance Would Be Achieved Compliance would be achieved by the proliferation of a “no-tolerance” policy for international offenders. For example, a nation that refused to accept international court rulings could, and likely should, be boycotted by all of the other nations of the world. Soon, due to the risk of financial extinction, the nations that do not comply would surely be compelled to do so.
Eventually, compliance would be all but required. Implications for the International System Hopefully, once no-tolerance takes root, the international system will be safer, more lawful, and international crime will be abated. This can only happen, however, if the nations of the world stand up to those who disregard laws and the rights of others.
Yarnold, B. M. (1991). International Fugitives: A New Role for the International Court of Justice. New York: Praeger Publishers.