The International Court of Justice and International Environmental Law

  • José Juste-RuizEmail author


The jurisprudence of the ICJ on environmental issues has increased significantly in recent years. Although some environmental cases were frustrated, either by the discontinuance of the proceedings by the Parties or because the Court found that it lacked jurisdiction on the merits, an Advisory opinion and several Judgments have already been delivered by the Court. Overall, the contribution of the Court to international environmental law is still modest, in spite of its pronouncements affirming the obligation of States to protect the environment, to prevent transboundary harm to other States or areas beyond national jurisdiction, and to carry out an environmental impact assessment before potentially harmful activities are authorized. However, the environmental jurisprudence of the Court appears to be still overly cautious as compared with the more committed attitude adopted by other competing jurisdictions.


Nuclear Weapon Environmental Impact Assessment Precautionary Principle Environmental Impact Assessment Pulp Mill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Fitzmaurice M (1996) Environmental protection and the International Court of Justice. In: Lowe V, Fitzmaurice M (eds) Fifty years of the ICJ. Essays in honour of Sir Robert Jennings. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 293–315Google Scholar
  2. Howley J (2009) The Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros case: the influence of the International Court of Justice on the law of sustainable development. Qld Law Stud Rev 2:1–19Google Scholar
  3. Juste Ruiz J (1977) Mootness in international adjudication: the nuclear tests cases. German Yearb Int Law 20:358–374Google Scholar
  4. Juste Ruiz J (1999) La sentencia del TIJ en el asunto de la competencia en materia de pesquerías (España/Canada) de 4 de diciembre de 1998 ¿ocasión frustrada o punto de inflexión? Revista Española de Derecho Internacional 51:141–154Google Scholar
  5. Owada H (2006) International environmental law and the International Court of Justice. Iustum Aequum Salutare II:5–32Google Scholar
  6. Sands P (1992) L’affaire des essais nucléaires II (Nouvelle-Zélande c. France): contribution de l’instance au droit international de l’environnement. Revue général de droit international public 102:447–474Google Scholar
  7. Treves T, Tanzi A, Pineschi L, Pitea C, Ragni C, Romanin Jacur F (eds) (2009) Non-compliance procedures and mechanisms and the effectiveness of international environmental agreements. TMC Asser Press, The HagueGoogle Scholar
  8. Viñuales JE (2008–2009) The contribution to the International Court of Justice to the development of international environmental law: A contemporary assessment. Fordham Int Law J 32:232–258Google Scholar

Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the authors 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Professor of Public International LawUniversity of ValenciaValenciaSpain

Personalised recommendations