Symposium: "A Court for the World? Trust in the ICJ 50 years after South West Africa"

30 - 30 November 2016
  • Starts at: 14:15h
  • Fee: Free
  • Venue: T.M.C. Asser Instituut
  • Organiser: The Asser Institute in cooperation with the Amsterdam Centre for International Law (ACIL)
  • Address: R.J. Schimmelpennincklaan 20-22
    2517 JN The Hague
  • Email:

The ICJ's 1966 decision on the merits of the South West Africa cases was widely perceived as a plain disaster. It cast the Court into a deep crisis and alienated newly independent states further from the Court. It all but destroyed the wavering trust that they had placed in the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. A judgment of such magnitude warrants renewed attention on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary. In particular, it invites inquiries into the Court’s representativeness and its appeal in the world. The present symposium reminds of the South West Africa cases and asks about the Court’s past and present capacity to induce trust. More specifically, it explores questions of the Court’s representativeness and of its responsiveness to the aspirations of different parts of the world.

H.E. Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, Vice President of the the International Court of Justice, will offer an evening talk, titled 'Trust in International Courts and Tribunals by African States after South West Africa'.


  • H.E. Prof. María Teresa Infante Caffi, Embassy of the Republic of Chile/University of Chile
  • Prof. Dr John Dugard, Leiden University/University of Pretoria
  • Dr Victor Kattan, National University of Singapore
  • Dr Sara Kendall, Kent Law School
  • Dr Cecily Rose, Leiden University
  • Dr Ingo Venzke, Amsterdam Center for International Law (University of Amsterdam)

14.15 Welcome & Introduction 
14.30 Panel I. The South West Africa Cases: Text and Subtext
16.00 Coffee Break
16.30 Panel II. Who finds their way to the Court?
18.00 Coffee Break
18.30 Evening Talk
19.30 Reception

>> Download the detailed programme here
>> Download the conference report

Time: 14.15 - 19.30 hours, followed by a reception

This event is organised in cooperation with the Amsterdam Center for International Law of the University of Amsterdam.