The International Court of Justice (ICJ), located in the Netherlands, is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. The ICJ serves as a court of international law, with Judges hearing various disputes between states and delivering a judgement. It also serves to offer advisory opinions to groups such as the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. Since it’s founding in 1946, the ICJ has dealt with more than 50 cases between states and has also delivered over 20 advisory opinions. It has a mixed record of successes and failures, with a surprisingly high degree of compliance with the verdict. This paper surveys the history, structure, and criticisms of the International Court of Justice.
The ICJ was founded in 1946 after World War Two. However, the Hague, where the ICJ resides, has been a host to international courts since 1899. The Hague Peace Conference of 1899 established the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Permanent Court of Arbitration was not just used to settle matters through Arbitration, but used occasionally used other pacific methods, like good office and mediation. The court officially began operating in 1902, but went through some revisions after a second Hague Peace Conference in 1907. A few years
It still functions to this day, independent of other international organizations (History, 3). In the case of a tie, the presedent makes the deciding vote. Nicaragua came before the ICJ claiming that the United States had been funding para-militants activities in Nicaragua, including the mining of Nicaraguan harbors (Guide). Another example are the aircraft incidents between the US and USSR. Judgements handed down from the ICJ will only have effect if the States involved voluntarily abide by its ruling. The court s judgments are decided by majority vote. Even if a nation wins a case against, say, France, France can still veto a resolution if it is brought to the UN. Any judge may file a separate opinion if he does not agree in whole or part with the judgement. Article 93 states that all members of the UN are automatically members of the Statute. The ICJ has held a great deal in the development of International Law and and has worked to promote such ideals as: sovereignty, peace, and human rights. When the issue was brought to the UN Security Council, it was vetoed by the US. The most common criticism of the ICJ is that it is time consuming with little usefulness. The ICJ has settled next to fifty cases (Shivley, 383).