international court of justice

After the Second World War the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) was replaced by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the principal judicial organ of the UNO according to Art.92 of the UN Charter. As rightly stated by M.Shahabuddin, in essence, it is a continuation of the permanent court with virtually the same statute and jurisdiction with no distinction being made between the cases decided by the PCIJ and ICJ. According to Art.2 of the Statute of ICJ, it is composed of fifteen members elected regardless of their nationality, from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices.

The judges of ICJ are elected on the basis of the Root-Phililmore Plan given in 1920. Accordingly, the judges are elected by the General Assembly and Security Council from a list of persons drawn up by the member states of UNO. Out of fifteen, five judges are elected every three years and continuity is maintained. There is a close co-ordination between General Assembly and Security Council in electing the judges of ICJ. Art.9 of the Statute of ICJ says that electors must keep in mind not only that the persons to be elected should individually possess the required qualifications, but also that in the ICJ the representation of all the main forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems of the world should be assured.

The members of the ICJ are elected for every nine years and may be re-elected. They enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities when on official business. A judge cannot be dismissed unless it is the unanimous opinion of the other members of the court that he has ceased to fulfill the required conditions. No judge of ICJ can exercise any political or administrative function or engage in any other professional work. No judge can act as agent, advocate or counsel in any case. The ICJ elects a President and the Vice President for a three year term, which can be renewed. The ICJ is situated at The Hague (Netherlands).

Jurisdiction of ICJ: The ICJ is a judicial institution that decides cases on the basis of international law as it exists on the date of the decision. It cannot formally create law as it is not a legislative organ. In the case of Legality of the threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons case (1996) ICJR, the ICJ held that it states the existing law and does not legislate. 

As stated in the landmark Lockerbie case (1992) ICJR, ICJ is the guardian of of legality for the international community. Art.36(2) of the Statute of ICJ requires that a matter brought before it must be a legal dispute. In Nuclear Test case (1974) ICJR, the ICJ held that the existence of a dispute is the primary condition for the court to exercise its judicial function. A legal dispute simply means disagreement over a point of law or fact.

ICJ within it’s limited jurisdiction has resolved important international disputes and thereby has contributed in ensuring international peace and security. However, it’s jurisdiction needs to be rationalised by creating a wing for conducting those involved in terrorist activities and in violation of human rights. It will be a better alternative to special courts like ICTY, ICTR and International Criminal Court.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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