The aspiration of international “peace through law” is at the very core of the new, post-war order conceived with the development of the 1945 UN Charter. As a foundational instrument for a reformed international order, the Charter sketches a path for the maturation of an international legal order that adjudicates and settles issues that may disrupt a durable international peace.
However, the current systems still fall short of effective governance institutions that can ensure sustainable peace. The literature on this topic is deep with a common theme, noting that “the conditions necessary for peace are less observable than the discrete nature of wars,” and thus the latter are highlighted more in mainstream study. Establishing a strengthened international legal order—and then maintaining the same—is a project that requires widespread acceptance. Fortunately, this acceptance already broadly exists among many countries that are too often caught between the politics of global and regional powers.
To achieve an enhanced system to protect a sustainable peace – at this crucial juncture in international history with resurgent geopolitical tensions – the international community should consider returning “back to basics” with respect to developing a more modern infrastructure for a strengthened, reliable international rule of law. This, for example, would involve reinforcing key legal institutions such as International Court of Justice (ICJ), also making it an obligatory, universal court of justice as was hoped for by the legal architects of the Charter.
This next-generation institution could be augmented by establishing a modern and well-resourced international judicial training institute that focuses on judicial formation for skill, knowledge and impartiality, conferring yet greater legitimacy on the judiciary of the ICJ as well as the judiciaries of other international courts and tribunals. Further, an Office of the UN Attorney General could be considered, to assist with the building of renewed international order more firmly based on the international rule of law.