Proving China’s (Partial) Responsibility for the Coronavirus Pandemic before the International Court of Justice

Domestic and international actors are increasingly calling for the establishment of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) international responsibility regarding the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This project examines – from an evidential perspective – the prospect of using the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as dispute settlement forum. A hypothetical case is presented that involves alleged violations of the PRC’s information-sharing obligations under Arts. 63-64 of the WHO Constitution. Subsequently, the project identifies potential evidentiary pitfalls, including the PRC’s likely non-appearance in the proceedings, the quantities of technical and scientific evidence, and the evaluation of conflicting expert evidence. Potential remedies are explored, such as a Court-instituted enquiry, the use of assessors, reliance on Court-appointed experts, as well as separating fact-finding from the adjudicatory process. Informing policy and legal debates, this study analyses the ICJ’s capacity for dealing with cases involving highly complex evidentiary matters.

With the support of the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union

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