ICJ Grapples with Issues of Sovereignty, Environmental and Foreign Policy

By Liam Scott

THE HAGUE (UN Press Corps) - The International Court of Justice at the Hague finds itself currently met with four contentious cases, regarding issues of sovereignty, the environment, aggressive foreign policy, and incitement of violence.

Firstly, the U.S. government brought a case against Russia in regards to Russia’s influence in the U.S. 2016 elections. Towards the middle of the campaign, the FBI got word that Russian hackers were attempting to “influence” the election through online posts. In mid-2016, it was found that Russian hackers stole confidential email records from the Democratic National Committee and exposed them to the public. In short, in the ICJ, the U.S. will posit that Russia actively carried out cyberattacks on the US in order to purposefully influence the 2016 elections. Russia denies these allegations, naturally.

Secondly, the governments of the US, South Korea, and Japan (the Applicants) will bring a case against the Chinese government (the Respondents) for the harmful impact Chinese pollution has had on the environment. According to the EPA, China is accountable for 30% of the world’s carbon emissions (“Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions Data”). The extreme pollution in China, largely due to rapid economic development, makes the air in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai unhealthy. The Applicants argue that pollution also negatively impacts the environment outside of China. Still, China maintains that it has made significant efforts to improve the current state of its environment.

Thirdy, the governments of Iran, Yemen, Oman, Syria, and Russia have brought a case against the American government, claiming that aggressive US involvement in the Middle East has resulted in extreme volatility. The Applicants have organized US involvement into four sections. First is the Gulf War; second is the War on Terror; third is the Arab Spring and the Syrian Civil War; fourth is ISIL.

Lastly, the Indian government has brought a case against the Pakistani government regarding Kashmir. This region has often been a hotly contested source of tension between the two states since the 1930s. In this case, India accuses Pakistan of encouraging violence in the region, and subsequently harming Indian citizens.

The UN Press Corps will provide updates regarding these four cases.