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International courts are standing tribunals entrusted with judicial functions over international disputes (that is, disputes governed by international norms, typically involving states as disputing parties). Jurists characterized these courts by a few common attributes, in that they have (1) an independent body of judges; (2) authority to render binding decisions; (3) processes governed by law; (4) a constitutive instrument valid under international law; and (5) a framework independent of any particular dispute. While the term international tribunal is broader in scope, as it encompasses also ad hoc bodies such as arbitration panels, the relevant literature often uses the terms international courts and international tribunals interchangeably.

Functions

The first international courts, such as the Permanent International Court of Justice (1920) and its post–World War II successor, the International ...

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