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Posted by on Feb 16, 2014 in ICJ |

Statute of International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principle justice organ of United Nations. It is established by charter of UN in 1945. The requirement of ICJ or UN was damage caused by world wars or mutual misunderstanding of nations of the world. The ICJ established to resolve legal disputes of different members such as boundary, water disputes etc. The seat of court is at Hague, Netherlands and it is only principal organ of UN out of 6 which is not situated in New York (USA).

Organization of Court

  • The International Court of Justice shall consists of independent judges irrespective of nationality from among persons of high moral character who are qualified to be a judge of highest court in their countries or expert of International  law.
  • The judges shall be 15 in number and no two of whom belongs to same nation.
  • The members of court shall be elected by general assembly and Security Council of UN among the persons nominated by different member nations.
  • No group may nominate > 4 persons and not > 2 persons shall be of same nationality. To nominate any person, each member nation are obliged to consult with its highest court of justice, legal faculties, school of law and national academics of study of law.
  • The persons got majority of vote in General Assembly (GA) and Security Council (SC) shall consider to be elected. If more than 1 person of same nation is elected then eldest one considered as elected.
  • If in 1st meeting of election all seats are not filled then 2nd & 3rd meeting shall be called for purpose of election. Still some seats are vacant, a joint conference of 6 members (3 from GA + 3 from SC) shall be called and if they failed to decide then elected judges themselves fill the vacant seats among the candidates who obtained votes either in GA or SC.
  • The term of office of judges shall be 9yrs and may be re-elected. In case of replacement, they shall finish all pending cases started by them. No member of court shall engage in any other professional occupation.
  • The Court shall elect its president & vice-president for period of 3 yrs and eligible for re-election. The Members of court when engaged in business of court shall enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.
  • The Court shall remain in session except on holidays decided by court and quorum of 9 judges is enough to constitute the court.
  • The judges of nationality of each parties shall have right to sit in case before the court. Each party has right to choose judge from respective nominated persons If there is no judge from their nationality.

Jurisdiction

  • Article 93 of UN charter states that all UN members are facto parties to the ICJ statute and any state not member of UN can be a party of statute of ICJ as may be determined by General Assembly.  Only state party or member nation of UN can approach to the International Court of Justice.
  • Article 36 (1) –The court has jurisdiction in all cases which state parties brings to it and all matters specially provided for Charter of UN or in treaties or conventions.
  • Article 36 (2) – The State party of statute may any time can declare that they recognize compulsory jurisdiction of court in all legal disputes (in relation to any other state) such as :-
    • Interpretation of treaty/convention;
    • Question to any international law;
    • Breach of any international obligation either under convention or decision of court.

This is a voluntary provision to accept compulsory jurisdiction of the court.

  • All parties to statute shall comply with the decision of court in a case to which it is a party. If any party fails to do so then other party shall move to Security Council which shall decide necessary measures or recommendations.
  • Advisory Jurisdiction – Also court can provide advisory opinions on any legal question at request of any authorize body of UN. The advisory opinion has no binding effect on any party. However court opinion can be used to formulate international treaty or laws.

Procedures

  • The official languages of court shall be French and English. The written & oral both procedures shall be used for purpose of notices/evidences & hearing respectively.
  • The hearing of court shall be public unless court decides or any party demand for secret hearing.
  • All questions shall be decided by majority of vote and president has casting vote in case of tie. The judgement of court has no binding force except judgement for case b/w parties & in relation of that.
  • All decisions are final and no appeal. But court can review its decision on application of any party with some new fact which is unfamiliar to court at time of judgement.

Amendments

  • Any amendment to statute shall be made for all parties when amendment is adopted by vote of 2/3 members of GA & SC and ratified by 2/3 parties to statute including member of Security Council.
  • The Court has power to make recommendations related to amendment to statute by written communication to Secretary General by shall be adopted as per above provisions.
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