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International Court of Justice, About, Jurisdiction, Composition, Significance & Criticism

International Court of Justice

The primary judicial body of the United Nations (UN) is called the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The United Nations Charter created it in June 1945, and it started operating in April 1946. The Peace Palace in The Hague houses its offices(Netherlands). It is noteworthy because it is the only main UN organ not located in New York. It replaced the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), which the League of Nations had created in 1920 and abolished in 1946. The UPSC Syllabus includes International Court of Justice as a significant subject. The UPSC Mock Test can help candidates prepare for the exam with more precision.

International Court of Justice History

The International Court of Justice is the main court of the United Nations (UN). It was created in June 1945 by the United Nations Charter, and operations got underway in April 1946. The methods for the peaceful resolution of conflicts between states, including negotiation, investigation, mediation, and other processes, are outlined in Article 33 of the United Nations Charter. Some of these techniques involve using resources from outside sources.

The Hague Peace Conference was called in 1899 at Nicholas II’s request. The Permanent Court of Arbitration was established in 1900 and started operations in 1902 in accordance with the provisions of the 1899 Convention regarding the establishment of permanent machinery.

Between 1911 and 1919, a number of plans and suggestions for the creation of an international judicial tribunal were made by national and international organisations as well as governments. This culminated in the creation of the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ). The United States’ H. Hackworth committee was charged with creating the future International Court of Justice’s statute in 1945. When the International Court of Justice met for the first time in April 1946, it officially dissolved the PCIJ and elected Judge José Gustavo Guerrero (El Salvador) as its first President.

International Court of Justice About

The main legal body of the UN is the International Court of Justice, also referred to as the World Court. The Permanent Court of International Justice, which had been based at the Peace Palace since 1922, was replaced by it after it was created by the United Nations Charter in 1945 and began operating in 1946. Each of the 193 members of the United Nations is immediately a party to the Court.

The Article 93 process allows non-members of the United Nations to join as parties to the Court’s legislation. The International Court of Justice provides advisory opinions on legal issues brought to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies as well as resolves legal disputes submitted to it by States in accordance with international law.

It is made up of fifteen judges who were chosen for nine-year tenure by the General Assembly and Security Council of the United Nations. The United Nations Secretariat has no influence over the International Court of Justice. A Registry, which serves as its own foreign secretariat and handles judicial, diplomatic, and administrative duties, supports it. There are two recognized language French and English.

Also Read: International Atomic Energy Agency

International Court of Justice Composition

The UN General Assembly and Security Council select the 15 justices who serve on the International Court of Justice for nine-year terms. More than one citizen of the same country cannot be heard by the court. Additionally, the Court as a whole must represent the principal legal and civilizational systems found throughout the globe. These organs each cast a separate, concurrent decision. Every three years, one-third of the Court is selected in order to maintain stability. Judges are electable again.

International Court of Justice Jurisdiction

The Court has two areas of jurisdiction: one is that it has the authority to decide on legal disputes brought before it by States in accordance with international law (jurisdiction in contentious cases); and the other is that it can give advisory opinions on legal issues upon request from United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, or another related organization that is permitted to do so.

The Court’s authority only extends to states that are parties to the Court’s Statute or have accepted it under specific circumstances and are members of the United Nations. At the Court, states are not represented by permanent officials. Through their foreign minister or an ambassador accredited to the Netherlands, they typically interact with the registrar.

The judgment is definitive, enforceable against the parties to the action, and not subject to review. (at the most it may be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision). A United Nations Member State acknowledges that it will abide by the Court’s ruling in any case to which it is a party by signing the Charter. The Security Council has the authority to suggest or decide on measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment if a State thinks the other party has failed to fulfill the obligations placed on it by a court judgment.

Only 16 specialized agencies of the United Nations or its affiliated organizations are permitted to participate in advisory procedures before the Court. Court opinions given in advisory hearings are generally advisory and not legally binding.

International Court of Justice Composition

15 judges make up the International Court of Justice, and the UN General Assembly and Security Council each choose one of them to complete a nine-year term. Re-election of justices is permitted. Every three years, when one-third of the cabinet departs, elections are conducted.

  • Supreme Court of India Judges
  • High Court Judges

The 15 judges are dispersed regionally and according to demographics; five judges are from Western Europe and other countries, three are from Asia, and two are from Eastern Europe. Three judges are from Africa, two are from Latin America and the Caribbean, and two are from the Caribbean and Latin American region.

International Court of Justice significance

The legal representative of the global society is the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The ICJ carries out its responsibilities as a full court, but at the parties’ request, it may also set up ad hoc chambers to look into particular cases. Through the voluntary involvement of the parties, the Court settles international disputes. A state is bound by the Court’s ruling if it consents to take part in a case.

International Conventions, International Custom, General Principles of Law Recognized by Civilized Nations, Judicial Decisions, and Writings of the Most Highly Qualified Experts on International Law are Reflected in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Used to Resolve Disputes in Consistent with International Law.

Environmental disputes, particularly that involving transboundary harm, as well as other disagreements affecting the preservation of living resources, environmental protection, or potentially harmful effects on human health, are increasingly being resolved through the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In carrying out its duties, the Court not only strengthens but also advances the application of international law in international relations.

The Court can clarify, improve, and interpret international law rules even though it cannot pass new laws in the same way that a regulator can. The Court’s judgments are final and binding, so they have an effect that goes well beyond the parties to the cases it hears. They serve as guidelines for their international conduct and are taken into consideration by all states and organizations. Additionally, the organizations responsible for codifying international law, like the United Nations International Law Commission, frequently cite the Court’s judgments.

International Court of Justice and India

Four of the six ICJ cases in which India has been involved involve Pakistan. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) reached the conclusion in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case that Pakistan was obliged by international law to permit “effective review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s conviction. With the exception of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, India has participated in five ICJ cases, three of which involved Pakistan. They are listed below:

  • Passage through Indian Territory (Portugal v. India, culminated 1960).
  • Appeals involving the ICAO Council’s jurisdiction (India v. Pakistan, culminated 1972).
  • Pakistani War Prisoners’ Trial (Pakistan v. India, culminated 1973).
  • August 10, 1999, Aerial Incident (Pakistan v. India, culminated 2000).
  • Obligations pertaining to talks on ending the nuclear arms race and achieving nuclear disarmament (Marshall Islands v. India, culminated 2016).

International Court of Justice Criticism

The majority of the ICJ’s limitations is structural, circumstantial, and connected to the material resources made accessible to the Court. It lacks the power to prosecute those who have been charged with war crimes or crimes against humanity. It does not have a prosecutor who can start procedures because it is not a criminal court. It differs from courts in that courts can consider applications from individuals, whereas the International Court of Justice cannot, and courts deal with allegations of violations of the human rights conventions under which they were founded.

The International Court of Justice is distinct from specialized international courts like the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea because of its broad jurisdiction (ITLOS). The Court is not an appellate court of last recourse for individuals, nor is it a Supreme Court to which national courts may appeal. Additionally, it does not serve as a foreign tribunal’s court of appeal. However, it can decide whether or not arbitral judgments are legal.

A dispute can only be heard by the Court if one or more nations ask for it. It cannot settle a disagreement on its own. Additionally, it is prohibited by its Statute from looking into and making decisions about the conduct of independent nations. The ICJ only has jurisdiction by agreement and lacks any mandatory jurisdiction. Because permanent members of the Security Council have the power to veto the enforcement of cases, even those to which they consented to be bound, there is not a total separation of powers.

International Court of Justice UPSC

The potential of the procedural tools available to the International Court of Justice is frequently overlooked, and it also enjoys special institutional standing. The International Court of Justice is a part of both the general system the Charter created for maintaining international peace and security as well as the machinery it established for the peaceful resolution of disputes. By defining the Organization’s legal status as an international organization and the range of powers granted to it, its jurisprudence had helped to the Organization’s position and function in the international legal order. Students can read all the details related to UPSC visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC online Coaching.

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International Court of Justice FAQs

What is the International Court of Justice as?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).

Where are the International Court of Justice?

The Court has had its seat in the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands) since 1946.

Who is the current President of International Court of Justice?

On 8 February 2021, the Court elected Judge Joan E. Donoghue (United States of America) as President and Judge Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation) as Vice-President.

Who is the first Indian in ICJ?

Judge (Dr.) Nagendra Singh is the first Indian in ICJ.

Who is the Indian judge at ICJ?

Dalveer Bhandari is the Indian judge at ICJ.

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