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Goldilocks and International Dispute Settlement

Mar 31, 2020

Joan E. Donoghue

Volume 46 (2019) - Issue 1

In his lectures and scholarly writings, David Caron was fond of conjuring images. Last September, he opened a lecture in Geneva by recalling an inscription over an entrance to this law school. In his American Journal of International Law article on the 1899 Hague Peace Conference, he described a rather grim statue on the grounds of the Peace Palace in The Hague called “The Spectre of War.”

These are sober images, befitting the serious topics that David addressed. The title of my presentation also brings to mind an image, but this image is that of little girl, the heroine of a children’s story. I am not sure that David would have approved of this frivolity. In my defense, however, I point to something that David observed when he wrote about the Hague Peace Conference—that there was not a single female at that important meeting.

I am often shocked and disappointed at how little has changed in this regard since I graduated from this law school in 1981. The World Court that was envisioned at the 1899 Hague Peace Conference has been in existence for about a century. During that time, only four women have been Members of the Court. Looking at the number of women participating in this symposium, however, we can see among David’s colleagues and former students a group of women who have made and will continue to make important contributions to international law. David surely would have been pleased.