Max Planck Lecture Series:
Prof. Pasquale De Sena gave a lecture titled “The ICJ as a Court of Cassation: Recent Developments”

18 November 2015

On November 18, 2015, Prof. Pasquale De Sena (Catholic University of Milan) explained to a questioning audience the extent to which he considers that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has recently acted as a Court of Cassation.

Starting from the case between Germany and Italy (ICJ, 3 February 2012), he first argued that the ICJ’s decision concerned the definition of the law on State Immunity and not its interpretation , and more precisely the relationship between State Immunity and violations of Human Rights.

Secondly, Prof. De Sena noted that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has referred to the aforementioned decision as if it was rendered by a Court of Cassation, for instance in “Jones v. United Kingdom” (ECtHR, 14 January 2014).

Finally, he asserted that such a tendency – albeit to some extent corresponding to the judicial federalism argued for by Kelsen – may be questioned from 3 aspects: 1) the development of international law in a very sensitive area such as the relationship between human rights and state sovereignty, 2) the peaceful relationships between the ICJ and domestic courts, and 3) the global credibility of the ICJ as a world court.

Offering the audience a unique intellectual experience, Prof. De Sena’s lecture was followed by a lively and interesting debate between the lecturer and the participants.

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