International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the UN’s most important judicial body.

The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

The ICJ was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.

Its seat is at the Peace Palace in the Hague (The Netherlands). It is the only one of the six principal organs of the United Nations not located in New York (The United States of America).

The Court is composed of 15 judges elected by the Security Council and the General Assembly. There must not be two judges from the same country.  When the Court has to make a decision, nine of the 15 judges must agree.

It is only countries and not individuals that can bring cases to the ICJ.  Nonetheless, before presenting a case to the ICJ, a state must accept the Court’s authority, making them bound to any decision the ICJ rules.

Read more about the International Court of Justice here.

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