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Faculty of Law

International Courts in the Quest for Effectiveness – the discussion session at the Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum 9 ¾

International Courts in the Quest for Effectiveness – the discussion session at the Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum 9 ¾

© Legal Forum

Non-execution of the decisions of international courts and tribunals conceptualized as a ‘principled resistance’ of the domestic courts has triggered the debates on the effectiveness of international adjudication. These questions were considered at the discussion session “International Courts in the Quest for Effectiveness”, which took place on May 20 in the Saint Petersburg International Legal Forum 9 ¾ and was organized by the School of international law. 

The section’s moderator, HSE professor Vera Rusinova set the tone for the discussion, beginning with a review of various methodological approaches to estimating the effectiveness of international dispute settlement bodies. She pointed out that the decisions execution rate did not exhaust all possible methodological approaches to the assessment of the effectiveness.  

Then, HSE professor Daria Boklan joined the discussion. In her opinion, the WTO has two main functions: to provide a negotiation platform and a judicial forum for the settlement of trade disputes, but it is currently progressing in neither. Its negotiation wing has not progressed, and the judicial wing is almost dysfunctional with a paralyzed Appellate Body. Nevertheless, still by a range of criteria the WTO Dispute Settlement Body can be qualified as an effective mechanism.

Professor Laurence Helfer (Duke University, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of International Law) concentrated on the decision-making policy of the European Court on Human Rights (ECHR). He presented a study of the ECHR Grand Chamber judgments, demonstrating how the concerns of the Council of Europe member states impact the ECHR’s usage of expansive or restrictive interpretation of human rights norms.

In his presentation, the University of Nottingham Professor, ‘EJILTalk!’ co-editor Marko Milanovic concentrated on ECHR’s effectiveness when adjudicating on human rights matters in the specific situation of an armed conflict.

The University of Oxford Associate Professor Antonios Tzanakopoulos addressed the general question regarding the impact of correlation between international and domestic courts on the effectiveness of the former. He suggested considering the possibility of appeal to the decisions of international dispute resolution bodies at the national level. He clarified that the appeal might lead not only to rejection but also to confirmation.

In the end, the discussion focused on the perspectives of the argument of the protection of public order to be used by the domestic courts in order to refuse from the enforcement of the international courts’ decisions, as presented by HSE Associate Professor Vladislav Starzhenetskiy, academic supervisor of the Masters’ Program ‘Law of International Trade, Finance and Economic Integration.’