Author: Rex J. Zedalis*
Published: August 1996
Categories of Disputes
Description: That an individual is usually considered to lack the requisite procedural capacity to maintain a claim before international bodies vested with authority to hear arguments regarding substantive international legal principles is a matter of hornbook law. Indeed, as indicated by the Permanent Court of International Justice in the Mavrommatis case, disputes between an individual and a nation-state are generally not even cognizable in international law until the country of nationality of the individual concerned takes up the claim on the individual’s behalf. Nation-states, however, possess the authority to grant to individuals the power to advance their own claims before international bodies and one common area where that has been done concerns international human rights conventions. But outside the field of human rights, a real reluctance to empower individuals to maintain international claims characterizes the practice of nation-states, and the examples of such that do exist do not seem systematically and purposefully connected with international economic law.
*Professor of Law and Director, Comparative and International Law Center, University of Tulsa.