Centre for International Courts & Tribunals

Centre for International Courts & Tribunals




PICT and the Centre have been established against the background of an increase in the number of international courts and tribunals at the global and regional levels, and in a sharp increase in their case-loads.

The International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, both located at The Peace Palace in The Hague, are well-established, as is the European Court of Justice (Luxembourg). These bodies have been joined over the past three decades by a large number of other judicial and quasi-judicial institutions, such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (established under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). In the economic field the World Trade Organisation’s panels and its Appellate Body play an increasingly important role, as do the World Bank’s International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and inspection panels established by the World Bank and various regional development banks. In the field of human rights regional bodies include the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, and the African Commission and Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other bodies have been established within the framework of the United Nations to address civil and political and economic and social rights, torture, discrimination and children’s rights. In the field of international criminal law the 1990’s saw the establishment by the UN Security Council of two ad hoc criminal tribunals, for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and for Rwanda (ICTR). The Statute of the International Criminal was adopted in 1998 and came into force in 2002.

The emergence of an international judiciary gives rise to a wide range of legal and policy issues, from the independence of the international judiciary to the relations between international and national courts, as well as new international issues such as forum shopping, lis pendens and res judicata.

It is against this context that PICT and the Centre have the following aims and objectives:

  • to facilitate access to and transparency in the work of international courts and tribunals;
  • to enhance the effectiveness of international courts and tribunals;
  • to promote greater knowledge about international courts and tribunals; and
  • to promote international peace through international justice and rule of law.