Inside the International Court of Justice, judges hush. Outside, when they don’t fear for their reputation or re-election, they speak about the elephant in the courtroom. This elephant is the lack of means for individuals to sue states in the courts of other states and in international courts. Two examples of such judges: Hersch Lauterpacht and Dame Rosalyn Higgins.
Hersch Lauterpacht pleaded for an International Court of Human Rights, criticizing the positivistic statist view of International Law (IL): “Once the cobwebs of that antiquated theory have been swept aside, the procedural incapacity of individuals is deprived of its logical foundation.”1 Dame Rosalyn Higgins argues that “there is nothing in the nature of international law which”2 dictates that individuals should not be parties to the ICJ and continues:
“Power, to be sure, rests still to a substantial degree with sovereign states: it is within their power, for the moment, to block the access of the individual to certain international tribunals and to continue to assert the old rule of nationality of claims. But the very notion of international law is not predicated upon this assumption, and the international legal system survives conceptually even were this to change. Additionally, these assumptions about access to international tribunals and force are in fact changing rapidly, with significant consequences in the delicate balance between the state and the individual.”3