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The Missing Reading of the Parable: Comment on ‘The Twelfth Camel, or the Economics of Justice’, by F Ost [(2011) 2(2) J Int Disp Settlement 333–51]
Journal of International Dispute Settlement  (IF0.938),  Pub Date : 2020-06-24, DOI: 10.1093/jnlids/idaa009
Sassoli de Bianchi M.

In a very educational article, François Ost took us through 12 different readings of the ancient Bedouin parable of the 12 camels. In this note, we observe that the judge’s stratagem of introducing the 12th camel, which is ultimately returned to him, not only allows for solving the dispute, in pragmatic terms, but also yields the only repartition that respects to the letter the will expressed in the testament. We also show that when the stratagem of adding a camel (or more than a single camel) is available, it necessarily yields the correct outcome. Our solution, which we believe is new in relation to this ancient parable, allows one to carry forward Ost’s invitation to use this remarkable story to think about justice and the act of justice.