Accountability for a Global Pandemic Scope of litigation against China

Athul V. Vadakkedom and Saumya Srivastava
Law Centre-1, Faculty of Law, Delhi University, India

Volume III, Issue IV, 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic has wreaked incredible loss across the world; be it financial, social or human loss, causing humanitarian crises of unprecedented natures in all countries. With the curve refusing to flatten, the Governments across the world find their capacity to respond being exceeded by the raging pandemic. With a growing frustration worsened by the stress on revenue there’s been an accompanying sense of resentment towards China. An unclear picture of the timeline leading up to the detection of patient zero has led many to allude that the reporting of the virus was deliberately suppressed by the Chinese Government. Many governments have even threatened litigation against China at the International Court of Justice. However, the normative nature of the International Law is heavily influenced, or rather weakened by the political authority and economic clout of a State like the People’s Republic of China. Therefore, establishment of a dispute and on its basis therein, taking China to the Court will be two key, as well as, incredibly challenging tasks. This article offers an overview on the scope of litigation against China at the ICJ, as well as an evaluation of the feasibility of the same.