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Justice without Borders

Written by Frank Klobucar, GORBI

19/08/2013 15:37 (241 Day 23:57 minutes ago)

The FINANCIAL -- As a small country with a dangerously strategic location, Georgia has a complicatedhistory with the international community.   Recently this relationship has been good: the country receives large amounts of aid from major international organizations every year. It’s widely recognized that the 2008 war was ended at least in part by intervention by “the fantastic five,” presidents fromEuropean nations. 


On the other hand, nearly every war or hardship that Georgia survived outside of classical history has been a story of “the international community” treating Georgia as merely a piece in a larger puzzle of power.How has this affected Georgians’ attitude toward foreign authority?  More specifically, do Georgians support the existence of international courts, even though they have no influence over their actions?

To answer this question, we’ll look to results from the most recent global survey by Georgian Opinion Research Business International, working as a member of a large WIN-Gallup International consortium. The study was conducted among a global cross-section of 56,625 men and women from 55 countries spread over all continents and regions of the world. In each country a national probability sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed either face to face, via telephone or online.

We asked each respondent the following:  “Currently, world leaders accused of severe violations of human rights are tried by an international court (linked to the United Nations). Do you support or oppose the existence of such an international court which is not under the authority of your own state?”  We then subtracted the number of people who oppose the international court from the number who support it.  If the resulting index number is positive, we can say that a country is generally in favor.

Global Division -- As it turns out, only five countries out of the 55 surveyed are against an international criminal court intervention.  This doesn’t mean that the rest are strong supporters, though. Even though few countries decisively oppose the courts, average appreciation for The Hague courts and their ilk is lukewarm at best.  While 46% of respondents worldwide support the court, another 24% do not.  This gives the globe a general index of 22. 

Those that do support the court, however, do so with much more enthusiasm than opponents.  Western Europe, where the international court is centered both geographically and culturally, is the most supportive of any region.  In fact, of the top ten most supportive countries only Vietnam and Kenya are not from the European continent.

Georgia, with nearly a decade of western intentions, narrowly missed the top ten with a support index of 59.  67% of Georgians that we asked like the idea of an international court, 8% did not, and the remaining had no preference or gave no answer.  So it seems that Georgia’s recent help from Europe may have encouraged support for international justice, but what about those countries with less friendly relationships?

Of the ten least supportive, most have some tense relations with the “international community.”  More than half are primarily or substantially Muslim, others are colonies or have been the recipient of unwanted meddling from Europe. Finally there is China. 

Given the clear dichotomy between the least and most supportive, we can guess that those with the least love for the current international court would be a bit more receptive if these courts didn’t pop up in the heart of Europe so reliably.  Perhaps “international court” is heard as “European court” by those not in the club.  If so, the results would suggest that this question is less about justice without national borders and more about regional and cultural ones.

In general the error margin for surveys of this kind is +3-5% at 95% confidence level.  Visit our website at



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