Looking back at the LaGrand judgment some time after the decision has been rendered, one cannot help but wonder that a dispute of such limited scope should have prompted the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to address so many issues of general relevance. The most spectacular among these would certainly be the ICJ's authoritative decision on the legal status of interim orders under Article 41 of the ICJ Statute, and its recognition that Article 36 (1)(b) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations protects rights of the individual. Important as they are, however, it would be unfortunate if these findings overshadowed some of the other, less spectacular, aspects of the decision. One of these is the court's progressive development of the law of state responsibility In fact, in the last part of the LaGrand judgment, the court has taken the opportunity to influence, if not direct, the legal rules governing consequences of international wrongs. It has done so by recognizing that a state injured by a breach of international law may be entitled to demand from the breaching state guarantees and assurances that the breach will not be repeated.
Christian J. Tams,
Recognizing Guarantees and Assurances of Non-Repetition: LaGrand and the Law of State Responsibility,
Yale J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjil/vol27/iss2/10