Statute of the International Court of Justice

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The Statute of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the foundational document that governs the structure, functions, and procedures of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The ICJ, often referred to as the World Court, is based in The Hague, Netherlands, and is responsible for settling legal disputes between states.

The Statute of the ICJ was adopted on June 26, 1945, as part of the Charter of the United Nations. It has since been amended several times to reflect changes and developments in international law. The current version of the Statute was last amended in 1978.

Key provisions of the Statute of the ICJ include:

  1. Composition: The Court is composed of 15 judges elected by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications and represent a broad range of legal systems.
  2. Jurisdiction: The ICJ has two primary types of jurisdiction: contentious cases and advisory opinions. Contentious cases involve disputes between states, while advisory opinions are provided at the request of UN organs and agencies.
  3. Jurisdictional Immunities: The Statute establishes the principle of jurisdictional immunities of states, which means that states generally enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of other states’ courts. However, this immunity does not apply in cases where a state has consented to the jurisdiction or when international agreements have specifically waived the immunity.
  4. Compliance: The ICJ has no enforcement mechanism, and its judgments are binding but rely on the voluntary compliance of the parties involved. However, the UN Security Council can take measures to enforce the Court’s decisions under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.
  5. Admissibility: The Court may only hear cases if the states involved have accepted its jurisdiction. States can accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction either through a declaration made under Article 36 of the Statute or through specific treaties.

The Statute of the ICJ is an essential instrument in the field of international law and provides the legal framework for the functioning of the Court. It outlines the powers, procedures, and limitations of the ICJ in settling disputes between states and providing legal opinions on important matters of international law

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