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Reading between the lines of Law of Advisory Opinions in International Courts and Tribunal

The introduction of a paper on the intersection of Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) and key international legal institutions, namely the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IAC+HR), is a complex and nuanced task. It necessitates an exploration of how TWAIL provides a critical perspective on international law, especially concerning the global South's experiences and challenges. TWAIL, as a theoretical framework, emerged as a response to the dominance of Western perspectives in international law. This approach critiques the prevailing legal structures and norms, contending that they often perpetuate inequalities between developed and developing nations. TWAIL scholars argue that international law has historically been utilized as a tool for colonial and neo-colonial domination, and thus, seek to unearth the ways in which legal norms and practices can be reoriented to better serve the interests of the global South. The role of the ICJ, ITLOS, and IAC+HR in this context is pivotal. The ICJ, as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, plays a crucial role in settling legal disputes between states and giving advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and specialized agencies. Similarly, ITLOS is a specialized tribunal established under the UNCLOS, primarily dealing with disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the convention. The IAC+HR, on the other hand, focuses on the promotion and protection of human rights in the American hemisphere. These institutions are central to the interpretation and application of international law. The significance of pending requests for advisory opinions in these institutions cannot be overstated. Advisory opinions, although non-binding, carry substantial moral and political weight and can influence the development of international law. When analyzed through a TWAIL lens, these pending requests offer a unique insight into the evolving dynamics of international law and its implications for the global South. The thesis statement posits that examining these requests for advisory opinions through a TWAIL perspective can reveal potential shifts towards a more equitable international legal framework. This analysis could underscore how these institutions are addressing, or failing to address, the concerns of the global South and, consequently, point towards the ways in which international law might be evolving to become more inclusive and just. This approach demands a thorough understanding of both the specific legal issues at hand and the broader geopolitical and historical contexts within which these issues are situated.

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