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Access_open An Empirical Study of the Voting Pattern of Judges of the International Court of Justice (2005-2016)

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords voting pattern, ICJ judges, empirical research
Authors Xuechan Ma and Shuai Guo
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Statute of the International Court of Justice stipulates that judges shall exercise their powers impartially. We question the practicability of this statement and examine whether the voting pattern of the judges are biased. In this light, empirical research is conducted on cases adjudicated from 2005 to 2016. We find strong evidence that (1) judges favour their home States or appointing States; and (2) judges favour States that speak same majority language with their home States.

Xuechan Ma
Xuechan Ma, Ph.D. candidate at Leiden University, LL.M. and LL.B. at Peking University. Email address:

Shuai Guo
Shuai Guo, Ph.D. candidate at Leiden University, LL.M. and LL.B. at China University of Political Science and Law. Email address:

    The Extraordinary African Chambers (CAE) within the courts of Senegal were created by the Agreement between the Republic of Senegal and the African Union of 22 August 2012 to prosecute international crimes committed in Chad between 7 June 1982 and 1 December 1990. The Chambers are governed by a Statute. For those cases not provided for in the Statute, the Chambers shall apply Senegalese law. Both laws, one of international or conventional nature and the other one national, could be applied to a trial in compliance with international standards. However, the Statute has priority over Senegalese legislation. It is indeed the Statute that is asked to settle all questions that may arise and that has made specific selective references and for any other point that it could not have foreseen.
    So, in the functioning of the CAE, both standards were able to interact. A beneficial process that, however, also has created difficulties. After the dissolution of the Chambers on 27 April 2017, Senegalese national law, that was enacted about the universal jurisdiction of international crime since 2007, should be inspired by it and adopt appropriate standards.
    Les Chambres africaines extraordinaire (CAE) au sein des juridictions sénégalaises ont été créées par l’Accord entre la République du Sénégal et l’Union africaine du 22 août 2012 pour connaitre de crimes internationaux commis au Tchad durant une période bien déterminée. De caractère international, elles sont régies par un Statut qui prévoit dans certains cas l’application du droit national sénégalais. Les deux droits, l’un d’essence internationale ou conventionnelle et l’autre nationale, ont pu être appliqués pour un procès conforme aux standards internationaux. Toutefois, le Statut prime sur le droit sénégalais. En effet, c’est le Statut appelé à régir toutes les questions qui pourrait se poser qui a opéré des renvois sélectifs expressément et pour tout autre point qu’il n’a pu prévoir. Ainsi, dans le fonctionnement des CAE, les deux normes ont pu interagir. Un procédé bénéfique qui n’a toutefois pas manqué de poser des difficultés. Après leur dissolution, le 27 avril 2017, le droit national sénégalais qui s’est lancé depuis 2007 dans la compétence universelle sur les crimes internationaux devrait s’en inspirer et adopter des normes adaptées.

Youssoupha Diallo
Substitut Général près la Cour d’appel de Dakar, Sénégal,

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