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The Perils of Global Legalism$
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Eric A. Posner

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226675749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226675923.001.0001

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The Fragmentation of International Justice

The Fragmentation of International Justice

(p.150) Chapter Seven The Fragmentation of International Justice
The Perils of Global Legalism
University of Chicago Press

The international adjudicatory environment is a bewildering jungle of judicial, quasi-judicial, and advisory bodies, some global and some regional or bilateral, with overlapping jurisdiction and no hierarchical structure to ensure uniformity in the law. Aside from the International Court of Justice, there is an International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Mechanism, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Why are there so many international tribunals? Why isn't there a hierarchical system of the type that exists in nation-states? After surveying the international judicial landscape, this chapter argues that the fragmentary tribunals are the result of a collision between the ambitions of global legalism and the realities of politics. It focuses on the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and World Trade Organization, the European Court of Human Rights, and the ECJ, and then comments on the links between arbitration, adjudication, and global legalism.

Keywords:   international tribunals, global legalism, politics, Inter-American Court, Tariffs and Trade, World Trade Organization, Human Rights, ECJ, arbitration, adjudication

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