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The Bahrain Delegation and the International Court of Justice Issues

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Past and Current International Action

The ICJ has many causes for concern. One of these causes is that judges elected to represent and defend their state parties vote regularly only in the parties’ favor, as seen in Posner 2004. To fix this issue, the ICJ created a rule that judges are elected only every nine years in thirds. Therefore, there will never be two judges from relative state parties. This would reduce the biases posed by having judges in the same relative state party, but the problem of having an equal and faire group is still present and is a pressing issue.

The head leaders associated with the ICJ have more influence than other countries because of the positions that have been permanently given to them. This means that the smaller country you are, you are most likely to vote for judges who are biased towards them. Therefore, as they retain power, creating more negative stigma and controversy related to the ICJ. To limit power of bigger countries, some are requesting compulsory jurisdiction to be required, which would relieve the major powers ability to do what they want without complying with the ICJ. Although this solution is very unappealing for most countries, many countries leave the ICJ because of compulsory jurisdiction.

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The ICC, on the other hand, composed of a similar structure, has its own problem. The ICC’s main cause for concern is that the court does not require any reference to the Security Council or to the country in which any case applies. Meaning it does not work with the state involved and is seen as a much less efficient method. The ICC has also been accused for taking in consideration morals rather than politics, logic and reality. As seen in Kenya, the ICC stopped a case relating to the trial of President Uhuru Kenyatta because of too much political imbalance and interference of the ICC’s in the election. Because of this, they became very much less judicial and legalistic, and became more political and realized the multiple political situations in Kenya. Recent actions such as the resistance of the AU, has called the ICC to stop being able to try those in office, and therefore forces them to attempt to utilize a more politically aware standpoint. This same body also is able to be involved in cases related to other African government leaders and their populations reducing controversy and problematic events in the ICC related to them being more legalistic. Although there has been some motion of change, there are still morality problems related to very corrupt leaders being left in office. Actions in the past related to improving the ICC have been linked to the U.S., who attempted to end aggression towards the ICC, and even attempted to join. Yet, this may still be a problem as it can possibly create a power imbalance, as seen in the ICJ.

Country’s Position

As members of the ICJ, the delegation of Bahrain would like reform, reorganization and improvement of the justice system. There is an obvious imbalance of power in the ICJ, where smaller countries such as us, Bahrain, are not as likely to have a suitable judge representing them. We believe that there should no longer be permanent seats. The fact that the big powerful countries such as the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, and France have permanent seats yet we do not is not something that should be disregarded. This should change so that smaller countries have more authority in the decisions in the ICJ.

Although Bahrain is not directly associated to the ICC in a significant way and has not approved the Rome Statute binding, there is an obvious bias against countries in the African continent regarding the charges being pressed upon criminals who have been accused of a crime or felony. In our current day, world peace and justice seem to be a pressing problem, and complications related to freedom and justice should not be present especially in under developed third world areas. Too many ICC cases concern African political figures and a divide is naturally created. In these cases, the United Nations ignores that the country requires and how they can help the people. Instead, the pursue in what they believe is supposedly moral. Bahrain would like to strive to limit and minimize as much crime in our country, but this cannot be possible if the ICC is only focused on African polical figures and if they have committed a crime.

Proposed Solutions

A solution that the delegation of Bahrain has considered in relation to the unfair judge selection in the International Court of Justice would be to completely remove the option for judges to rerun for a consecutive term. This reduces their drive to work towards re election and pursue higher moral decisions and focus on their present term that they are currently in. But there is a downside to this solution. This could possibly reduce the motive of the judges to do what is truly right. This would only be fixed if we would be able to have multiple more judges available to make decisions. Not only would the problem of biases be gone (there would be more judges therefore equalizing the power of the five permanent countries’) but also makes the security council not vote in favor of judges from the origin state. Instead of commanding compulsory jurisdiction, the Court should encourage this, where countries that do agree are possibly guaranteed perks such as a longer term or a bigger say in some cases.

In the CC, a solution would possibly to collaborate with the African Union in order to determine the standing on situations related to African political members. This would help the ICC significantly because it would be the African Union involved in what happens to the political figures, therefore reducing the bias present in the ICC. If they try individuals from Africa, the delegation of Bahrain believes that each side must find a resolution or an agreement to proceed with dealing with these types of issues. The ICC does not take in consideration very often the political predicaments and matters that can be abruptly created if the ICC does not deal with them professionally. The delegation of Bahrain believes that there should be an law created where the ICC must contact the African Union before becoming involved in any business related to Africa.

Questions to consider

Can bias truly be removed in an international court?

The delegation of Bahrain strongly believes that bias can truly be removed from an international court, if certain things are to be changed in the ICJ/ICC. If there is only a certain amount of judges representing a country and they are re-elected every time an election comes around, there will be obviously a bias since there is no change happening. If we were to change positions every year or two years, and if we were to elect even more judges, the bias and unbiased judges would even out and we would be able to truly see the situation outside of a bias lens.

Should bodies such as the ICC and ICJ hold precedence over state constitutions?

The delegation of Bahrain strongly believes that the ICC and ICJ should not hold precedence over state constitutions. Every state should be able to follow their laws and should not be purely controlled by an international court. If the ICC and ICJ were to hold precedence over all state constitutions, there isn’t really a point in even having a constitution if it can be voided by the ICJ/ICC. Furthermore, if the ICC/ICJ were to hold precedence over state constitutions, there would be numerous outbreaks of states because of the potion of the ICC/ICJ that is corrupt.


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