WORLD COURT: Completing the Circle

Although 39 nations pay at least lip service to its authority, the World Court at The Hague has never been permitted to live up to its resounding name. Properly known as the International Court of Justice, it is the top U.N. judicial tribunal, but no major power (including the U.S.) is yet willing to bind itself unconditionally to accept the court's decisions.

Nonetheless, the functioning of the World Court—it passes on international disputes when the contending powers ask it to do so and delivers advisory opinions to U.N. bodies—serves as a reminder of the...

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