Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht Logo Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht

Sie befinden sich hier: Aktuelles Veranstaltungen Vorlesungen, Seminare & Übungen Archiv Sommersemester 2015-Sommersemester 2022

Sommersemester 2015-Sommersemester 2022

International Law and Geopolitics - An Analysis of the Jurisprudence of the ICJ

Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main
Wintersemester 2020/2021

Prof. Dr. Armin von Bogdandy and Prof. Dr. Achilles Skordas

Content, objectives, and methodology

The colloquium will discuss the interplay between international law and geopolitics with focus on the jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Its purpose is to explore first, how the global distribution of power determines the conceptual horizon of the Court, and second, how the Court specifically frames and constructs international law in view of steering the conduct of powerful actors and preserving peace. Thus, we will reflect on two levels of tensions: first between international law and diplomacy/order and second between adaptation and resistance to geopolitical power from the standpoint of the ICJ. We will also discuss, how the ICJ frames the geopolitical conflicts, and whether it succeeds in assuming ‘semantic authority and control’ over major disputes of legal-political nature. Furthermore, the class with discuss the eventual policy consequences of the jurisprudence, as well as the relationship between the ICJ and the political organs of the United Nations, in particular the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

In terms of reading, I distinguish between ‘essential reading’ and ‘further reading’. I would advise you to prepare the essential reading for the seminars; those of you who have an interest in deepening your knowledge, you can find materials in the ‘further reading’ list. As you will notice, we will mainly work with an analysis of the judgments of the ICJ. In some of them, I mention the paragraphs of the judgment that you should read. Where I do not mention any paragraphs, then we will discuss the judgment as a whole. You are not required to read a whole judgment, but you can obviously do so, if you so wish. I also add a general bibliography at the beginning of the syllabus.

The choice of the judgments that we will study was done on the basis of  their legal and geopolitical significance.

During the seminars, we will discuss the topics from a variety of perspectives. Participation of the students in the discussion is essential.


Outline of the Colloquia

Colloquium I

Part 1                 Introduction to Geopolitics

Part 2                 Introduction to the International Court of Justice


Colloquium II

Part 1                The Use of Force: Cold War (I): East/West (Corfu Channel Case)

Part 2                The Use of Force: Cold War (II): North/South (Nicaragua v. the United States)


Colloquium III

Part 1                The Use of Force: Post-Cold War Era and its Tribal Conflicts (Congo v. Uganda)

Part 2                Genocide  (Yugoslavia cases, The Gambia v. Myanmar )


Colloquium IV

Part 1                The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  (Construction of a Wall)

Part 2                Russia’s Near Abroad (Ukraine v. Russian Federation)


Colloquium V (at the Max Planck Institute for International Law in Heidelberg)

Part 1               Revision and presentation of coursework

Part 2               Presentation of the coursework