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Competence and Jurisdiction in Public International Law: International Courts in the Americas

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Competence and jurisdiction are two inseparable terms in Public International Law; they are used, amongst others, for arbitration and in international courts. The plurality of tribunals does not question the notion of jurisdiction, but it does put the notion of competence in relative terms. International justice has either a universal scope or a regional scope; in America nine international courts have jurisdiction and competence. These nine international courts have different ways of understanding and applying the notions of competence and jurisdiction. The American courts have different competences: integration, human rights, or administrative affairs.


  • International Tribunal
  • International Court
  • International Justice
  • Arbitral Award
  • Andean Community

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-90-6704-894-1_12
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  1. 1.

    Treves 1997, p. 427: The establishment of new international tribunals does not depend only on the need to create permanent specialized judicial bodies for special branches of international law. It depend also on the need, which has emerged clearly during the most recent decades, to extend the jurisdiction of judicial bodies international in their composition and legal basis, to subject-matters and parties which had remained excluded from the scope of jurisdiction of international judges. The establishment of new international tribunals meets the need to create international judges for international crimes of individuals and for disputes in which international organizations and natural or juridical persons are parties. It is well known that on these grounds the International Court of Justice cannot tread, and its jurisdiction is limited to disputes between States (ICJ Statute, Article 34.1).

  2. 2.

    Agreement establishing the Caribbean Court of Justice (2001), entered into force on 23 July 2002. Part III. Appellate jurisdiction of the Court. Article XXV Appellate jurisdiction of the Court.

    2. Appeals shall lie to the Court from decisions of the Court of Appeal of a Contracting Party as of right in the following cases:

    (a) final decisions in civil proceedings where the matter in dispute on appeal to the Court is of the value not less than twenty-five thousand dollars Eastern Caribbean currency (EC$25,000) or where the appeal involves directly or indirectly a claim or a question respecting property or a right of the aforesaid value.

  3. 3.

    Entered into force on 18 July 1978.

  4. 4.

    The Andean Integration System (SAI in Spanish) comprises the following: the Andean Presidential Council; the Andean Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers; the Andean Community Commission; the Andean Community General Secretariat; the Andean Community Court of Justice; the Andean Parliament; the Business Consultative Council; the Labor Consultative Council; the Andean Development Corporation; the Latin American Reserve Fund; Simón ARodríguez Agreement, Andean Health Organization—Hipólito Unanue Agreement; Andrés Bello Agreement and Andean University Simón Bolívar.

  5. 5.

    Entered into force on 2 October 2004. An English translation of the Protocol is published in (2003) International Legal Materials 42: 2–18.

  6. 6.

    Special Agreement to extend the competence of the Administrative Tribunal to the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, signed February 18, 1976.

  7. 7.

    The Inter-American Investment Corporation submitted to the Tribunal's jurisdiction by resolution of its Board of Executive Directors of November 19, 1991.

  8. 8.

    For example: IACtHR: Manuel Cepeda Vargas v. Colombia, Judgement (26 May 2010), para 42: When examining the merits in cases of serious human rights violations, the Court has taken into account that, if they were committed in the context of massive and systematic or generalized attacks against one sector of the population, such violations can be characterized or classified as crimes against humanity in order to explain clearly the extent of the State’s responsibility under the Convention in the specific case, together with the juridical consequences.

  9. 9.

    Treaty on the creation the Andean Court of Justice, Article 38.

  10. 10.

    Statute of the Central American Court of Justice, Article

  11. 11.

    Treves 1997, p. 420: The coexistence of different procedures for the settlement of disputes raises problems of strategy for the parties and their counsel. They have to consider which of the available dispute settlement mechanism to utilize, and, in order to take this decision, they have to consider how to define their claim in the light of the different rules on the settlement of disputes and on the jurisdiction of the different bodies which could be resorted.

  12. 12.

    Treves 1997, p. 431.


  • Treves T (1997) Recent trends in the settlement of international disputes. Cursos euromediterráneos de Derecho Internacional 1:395–437

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Correspondence to Luis García-Corrochano Moyano .

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

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García-Corrochano Moyano, L. (2013). Competence and Jurisdiction in Public International Law: International Courts in the Americas. In: Boschiero, N., Scovazzi, T., Pitea, C., Ragni, C. (eds) International Courts and the Development of International Law. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague, The Netherlands.

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