Africa: A Vote on Apartheid

Since its installation in the funereal Peace Palace donated by Andrew Carnegie shortly before World War I, the World Court in The Hague has been a graveyard of political illusions. Lacking an effective executive to enforce its decisions, hamstrung by conflicting bilateral treaties, and limited to advisory opinions on issues of worldwide import, the Court of International Justice is like a traffic cop without a whistle.

Yet nations with grievances still flock to it in hopes of getting moral backing for their causes.* In 1960, Liberia and Ethiopia asked the court for a...