The International Court of Justice

General Features:

  • The principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Began work in 1946, when it replaced the Permanent Court of International Justice.
  • Operates under a Statute largely similar to that of its predecessor, which is an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations


  1. To settle in accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by States began work in 1946, when it replaced the Permanent Court of International Justice

  2. To give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies


  • composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council
  • It may not include more than one judge of any nationality
  • They have international personalities do not represent their governments

Working of the Court

  • Only States may apply to and appear before the Court
  • Membership is not conditional to UN membership
  • The Court is competent to entertain a dispute only if the States concerned have accepted its jurisdiction

The Legal Sources of the Court

  • international treaties and conventions in force
  • international custom
  • the general principles of law
  • judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists

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