International Law and Domestic Law

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Domestic Enforcement of Decisions of International Tribunals

I am at the American Society of International Law's Annual Meeting and attended a panel on the domestic enforcement of decisions of international tribunals.  The panelists, which included distinguished presenters Professors Lori Fisler Damrosch of Columbia University and Andreas Paulus of Gottingen, spoke about the Medellin case of the US Supreme court, about the Kadi decision of the European Court of Justice and comparative perspectives from Canada and elsewhere. Listening to the presentations - which were very good - two questions occurred to me: 1) There must be more practice regarding the domestic implementation of decisions of the International Court of Justice and other international tribunals than is commonly assumed. In Medellin, Chief Justice Roberts stated that: Our conclusion that Avena does not by itself constitute binding federal law is confirmed by the "postratification understanding" of signatory nations.  . . . [N]either Medelln nor his amici have identified a single nation that treats ICJ judgments as binding in domestic courts. ... [T]he lack of any basis for supposing that…

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