International Court of Justice

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International Court of Justice,

principal judicial organ of the United Nations, established 1946 by chapter 14 of the UN Charter. It superseded the Permanent Court of International Justice (see World CourtWorld Court,
popular name of the Permanent Court of International Justice, established pursuant to Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations. The protocol establishing it was adopted by the Assembly of the League in 1920 and ratified by the requisite number of states
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), and its statute for the most part repeats that of the former tribunal. The court consists of 15 judges chosen for nine-year terms by the General Assembly and the Security Council, voting independently, from a list of candidates nominated by government-appointed national groups of international-law experts. No two judges may be from the same country. Nine judges constitute a quorum, and questions are decided by a majority of the judges present. The permanent seat of the court is in the Peace Palace at The Hague, the Netherlands, but it may hold hearings elsewhere. All members of the United Nations are ipso facto members of the court; other states may adhere to the statute. If a member of the United Nations fails to comply with a judgment of the court, an appeal for assistance may be made to the Security Council. The court may render judgment in certain disputes between states, and with the authorization of the General Assembly, it may deliver advisory opinions to any organ of the United Nations and its agencies.

A dispute may be brought before the court by consent of the parties in the particular case or by virtue of an advance formal declaration of acceptance of the court's jurisdiction. States making such declarations, however, sometimes impose restrictive conditions on their acceptance. The United States excludes all disputes concerning domestic matters from the court's jurisdiction, reserving the right to determine what it regards as domestic. The court's competence between states is limited to disputes concerning the interpretation of treaties, questions of international law, breaches of international obligation, and reparations due. Concern has been expressed at the small number of cases nations have submitted to it. Major opinions of the court have ruled that the General Assembly may not admit a state to the United Nations if the application is vetoed by one of the permanent members of the Security Council; that the United Nations is to be considered as an international legal person; that special United Nations assessments, such as those for the CongoCongo, Democratic Republic of the,
formerly Zaïre
, republic (2005 est. pop. 60,086,000), c.905,000 sq mi (2,344,000 sq km), central Africa. It borders on Angola in the southwest and west, on the Atlantic Ocean, Cabinda (an Angolan exclave), and the Republic of
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 and Middle East operations, are regular expenses of the United Nations and are binding on all members; and that South Africa must withdraw from Namibia (accomplished with Namibia's independence in 1990).


See S. Rosenne, The Law and Practice of the International Court (2 vol. 1965); R. Falk, Reviving the World Court (1986); M. Dunne, The United States and the World Court, 1920–1935 (1989).

International Court of Justice


the principal judicial organ of the UN. Established in 1945, the court’s organization, jurisdiction, and procedure are defined by its statute, which is an integral part of the UN Charter, thus making all members of the UN parties to the statute. The court adopts regulations defining the procedure for performing its functions and establishing judicial procedure.

The court consists of 15 judges elected for nine-year terms by an absolute majority in the UN General Assembly and Security Council (voting separately). Every three years one-third of the court is replaced. The court elects a president and vice-president for three-year terms and appoints a secretary for seven years. Nominations to the court are made by the national groups of the Permanent Court of Arbitration or specially appointed groups. In accordance with the statute the composition of the court should ensure that the “principal forms of civilization and basic legal systems of the world” are represented. Members of the court enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunity in performing their official duties.

The court’s principal task is to decide cases (international disputes) referred to it by the parties involved (states only) in accordance with international law. Cases are heard only with the consent of all disputing parties. Countries that are members of the UN have the right to declare that they recognize the court’s jurisdiction to be compulsory for certain legal questions or to stipulate that certain types of disputes are outside the court’s jurisdiction. Decisions are reached by a majority vote of the judges present, with nine members constituting a quorum. Decisions are binding only for the countries involved in the dispute and only for the particular case. The court’s decisions are final and not subject to appeal. The court may also hand down advisory opinions on legal questions at the request of a UN institution authorized to make such a request. Such opinions are no more than recommendations.


Polianskii, N. N. Mezhdunarodnyi sud. Moscow, 1951.
Krylov, S. B. Mezhdunarodnyi sud Organizatsii Ob”edinennykh Natsii. Moscow, 1958.
Kozhevnikov, F. I., and G. V. Sharmazanashvili. Mezhdunarodnyi sud OON. Moscow, 1971.


International Court of Justice

main judicial organ of U.N. [World Hist.: NCE, 1351]
See: Justice
References in periodicals archive ?
The General Assembly's ability to consider the full consequences of the rules it adopts while having unbridled access to relevant facts satisfies the concerns levied by the ICJ and the Supreme Court of the United States in North Sea Continental Shelf and Sosa v.
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Since in both cases, who ever is found in transgression, if at all, the fact that both sides in the dispute defend the IA, and insist on its validity implying, furthermore, that the other side must implement it, the logical conclusion for the ICJ will be to insist on its implementation, since by the very process and dispute both countries explicitly and with legal documentation and arguments have vouched that, even though the IA has outreached its term, it is still in force, according this particular clause.
As the United States earlier acknowledged before the ICJ, Article 36 "establishes rights not only for the consular office but, perhaps more importantly, for the nationals of the sending State who are assured access to consular officers and through them to others.
Sepulveda, a law professor at the Colegio de Mexico, was also appointed an ad hoc judge for the ICJ to help in the case involving Mexico's complaint against the US regarding the use of the death penalty for Mexican citizens.
Symptomatically, the ICJ mandate equals that of its interbellum precursor.
An affirmative answer suggests the cumulative considerations of the when and how questions may have actually expanded the space for a meaningful ICJ role to be performed.
Even accepting that the objections of Israel and other States are well founded, and that the ICJ proceedings are a blatant political exercise, it is still a mistake for Israel to withdraw from the case.
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International action in accordance with the ICJ opinion is long overdue, he said in a press release, adding that supporting the Palestinian right of self-determination should be translated into tangible steps such as the recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border.
The ICJ ruled in favour ofNicaraguaand against theUnited States, and awarded reparations to the Nicaraguan Government.