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Can Justice in the International Affairs Exist? Should It?


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Can we ever devise or impose justice onto international affairs? What would this "justice" be? And is it just to have "justice"?

I was reading some Thucydides and after reading the Melian dialogue, it struck me that its not necessarily "bad" that the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must, it just is. I myself am a bit cynical and don't believe that we can ever attain justice, not really at least, i mean, going to Hobbes, in the end there is only so much of item A and if two parties want it that creates conflict and where there is conflict there is room for "injustice."

Some would claim the ICC, ICJ and UN are built to and function to impose justice onto international affairs but i don't see it that way. I see the UN as a tool for the powerful nations to control the weaker ones.

Opinions? Thoughts?

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Some would claim the ICC, ICJ and UN are built to and function to impose justice onto international affairs but i don't see it that way. I see the UN as a tool for the powerful nations to control the weaker ones.

While I don't share your level of cynicism of the UN being a "tool for the powerful nations to control the weaker ones," I do agree that the International Criminal Courts and the International Court of Justice are not as effective as they could be. But this is not because of a fundamental weakness in the international system, rather it is because of a fundamental quality of international law that is embedded in Article 2(7) of the UN Charter whereby one member-state will not interfere with the internal matters of others. In doing so, each member-state and the UN and its various bodies and agencies further this point as their primary purpose is the providing of relief (when necessary) and fulfilling their individual purposes as opposed to resolving the crisis within the national borders of an individual state unless specifically asked to step into the picture.

But really, if you want a good laugh then you should read Oppenheim's commentary on International laws concerning water ways and control of them between neighbouring countries. The Russo-American conflict of wastage and dumping onto the Alaskan coasts via flowing currents et al is HILARIOUS! It's further disconcerting that a case as pointless as this, grounded in the impracticality of latitudes and longitudes depicting the imaginary lines that separate "American" waters from "Russian" waters continued in the ICJ for 27 years until 1989 when the Soviet Union broke down and the case was eventually withdrawn, not resolved, withdrawn.

Yet when we see some of the measures taken by the International Criminal Courts like that of the Special Tribunals for Lebanon and Rwanda, we get the basis of a fantastic proposal put forth by Security Council resolutions that have been instrumental in the creation of future treaty obligations between CIS and former colonial masters and overall crisis or emergency situation procedures and policies. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was actually one of the first International documents that declared the importance of trials in absentia (without the defendant present) in explicit terms (article 22 of Attachment to SC Resolution) in extenuating circumstances when the trial is based on Criminal intent intermixed with great political outfalls like High Treason and Lese Majesty (crimes against sovereign/monarch of state).

There are definite pros and cons, but this is an ongoing effort to improve the world and ultimately achieve the Millennium Development Goals. "Justice," as it were, is variable as when it comes to international affairs, or the affairs of man in general, the idea of "justice" is not so cut and dry. It's rarely black and white where there is a "right" side and a "wrong" side, which makes the idea of "justice" not only in the international arena, but also in the judicial systems the world-over, a romanticised idea for the exceptional cases involving grave wrongs and inexcusable and inequitable fault. There is a rarely a clear right side and wrong side when it comes to governing member-states (or men), this is one of the fundamental principles of criminal law and psychology of modern criminology. It devalues the idea of "justice" as the idealistic student would like to see it.

Every advocate wants their client to be innocent, we dare to dream, but it's not necessarily so as there are varying shades of blameworthiness, and innocence is questionable.

Edited by Arrowhead
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