Goldstone on international judges sitting as arbitrators

septiembre 14, 2015

Judge Richard J. Goldstone has published a lecture on whether there is a global ethic of international judges. In his lecture, he briefly refers to the problem of judges sitting as arbitrators in the following paragraph:

One potentially worrying activity of full-time international judges relates to their sitting as paid international arbitrators. Many of the judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have accepted such positions. It has been a contentious issue. As full-time and fully paid members of the ICJ, judges should devote their time and work solely to that court. In most domestic jurisdictions, judges are usually strictly limited in the amount and nature of outside remunerated work they may accept. However, as I have been informed by former members of the ICJ, such outside work has been found acceptable over many years.20 Nevertheless, the judges of the ICTY took a contrary view. In its early years, one of the judges on the ICTY accepted paid work as an arbitrator. The other judges objected to this on the ground that once appointed to the ICTY, judges should devote their full time and attention to its work. That judge preferred his work as an arbitrator and resigned from the tribunal.

It is a quite important paragraph coming from a senior judge. I would say, however, that such practice is not “potentially worrying” anymore; it is actually worrying, particularly after the events on the arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia. Moreover, it can be affirmed that such practice is not generally perceived as acceptable at present, as evidenced by last Saturday’s formidable lecture by Professor Philippe Sands at the closing ceremony of the ESIL 2015 Conference.

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