In Whose Name?

Published 20 September 2015

In Whose Name do or should international courts decide?’ This is the fundamental question raised in a book published by Armin von Bogdandy (Max Planck Institute Heidelberg) and Ingo Venzke (Amsterdam Center for International Law), and it was the overarching question debated at a Public Roundtable organised by the authors in cooperation with the Asser Institute on September 7th, 2015. Moderated by Prof. Janne Nijman (Asser), speakers Judge Fausto Pocar (International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia), Dr. Gleider Hernández (Durham), Dr. Cecily Rose (Leiden), and Prof. Stephan Schill (Amsterdam), each with their own expertise and relevant experience with different international courts and tribunals, shared their reflections on the issues of legitimacy that lie behind this question. While building on the public law theory of international adjudication developed in their book, Prof. Armin von Bogdandy and Dr. Ingo Venzke responded by arguing that ultimately international courts and tribunals speak the law – that is, exercise international public authority – ‘in the name of the peoples and citizens whose freedom they ultimately shape, however indirectly.’ The proposition contributed to a lively debate among the Roundtable’s participants.