Courtesy Reuters

The Unused Potential of the World Court

As John Foster Dulles wrote in 1957, "There can never in the long run be real peace unless there is justice and law. Peace is a coin which has two sides: one is the renunciation of force, the other side is the according of justice."1 World attention has too long been directed to one face of the coin at the expense of the other.

In attempting to build a structure for the organization of a peaceful world, the architects of the Charter of the United Nations put major emphasis upon peace-keeping and the renunciation of aggressive force in international relations. An animating principle of the Charter was that it pledged its members to forego the use of armed force save in the common interest or in self-defense, and to follow a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries.

If that side of Mr. Dulles' coin does not shine brightly at present in the light of the aggressive tendencies of some nations, it cannot be said to have been because the Charter failed to lay explicit obligations upon its members to keep the peace. As we reflect upon the international instability that has been a feature of the sixteen years since the San Francisco Conference, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the lack of emphasis put on the duty to accord justice may have been a material contributing factor. Peace without justice is at best an uneasy truce. The price of peace without the means of obtaining justice may be excessive. If there is no reliable remedy for determining international disputes upon an objective and impartial basis, may it not be an illusion to suppose that a nation, suffering a serious wrong to its national interests, will forego the historic habit of using force?

Some might imagine that the members of the San Francisco Conference failed to appreciate that an effective means for achieving impartial judicial decisions was an essential component of the machinery for peace. Actually, they considered

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