Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


Eric Zubel


Pan American Flight 103 exploded midair over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21,1988. Investigations suggested that two Libyan nationals were to blame. When the U.N. Security Council imposed sanctions on the Libyan government in 1993 for its failure to cooperate with U.S. and U.K extradition requests, Libya turned to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for help. Libya asked the ICJ to declare that Libya was not obliged to extradite its nationals to the United States or the United Kingdom and further asked the Court to enjoin the U.S. and the U.K from the use of force or threats against Libya. In 1998, the ICJ found it had jurisdiction to hear the case, which put two bodies of the United Nations on a collision course. The author explores how the U.N. system handles its internal tensions, and compares the international system with U.S. federalism and civil rights. How far can judicial review reach in the global system?