International Court of Justice
Apr 01, 2022
International Court of Justice
Q Why is it in News ?
A Ukraine has filed an application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), instituting proceedings against the Russian Federation for committing Genocide.
Q What is International Court of Justice ?
- The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
- It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
- The court is the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), which was brought into being through, and by, the League of Nations.
- It held its inaugural sitting at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, in February 1922.
Q When was it established ?
- After World War II, the League of Nations and PCIJ were replaced by the United Nations and ICJ respectively.
- The PCIJ was formally dissolved in April 1946, and its last president, Judge José Gustavo Guerrero of El Salvador, became the first president of the ICJ.
- The first case, which was brought by the UK against Albania over concerning incidents in the Corfu channel — the narrow strait of the Ionian Sea between the Greek island of Corfu and Albania.
Q Where is its Seat and what are its functions ?
- Like the PCIJ, the ICJ is based at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
- It is the only one of the six principal organs of the UN that is not located in New York City.
- The other five organs are:
- General Assembly
- Security Council
- Economic and Social Council
- Trusteeship Council
- The court as a whole must represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.
- The judges of the court are assisted by a Registry, the administrative organ of the ICJ. English and French are the ICJ’s official languages.
Q What is Jurisdiction of ICJ ?
- All members of the UN are automatically parties to the ICJ statute, but this does not automatically give the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes involving them.
- The ICJ gets jurisdiction only if both parties consent to it.
- The judgment of the ICJ is final and technically binding on the parties to a case.
- There is no provision of appeal; it can at the most, be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision.
- However, the ICJ has no way to ensure compliance of its orders, and its authority is derived from the willingness of countries to abide by them.
Q How many Judges are in the court ?
- The ICJ has 15 judges who are elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, which vote simultaneously but separately.
- To be elected, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes in both bodies, a requirement that sometimes necessitates multiple rounds of voting.
- Elections are held at the UNHQ in New York during the annual UNGA meeting.
- A third of the court is elected every three years.
- The judges elected at the triennial election commence their term of office on February 6 of the following year.
- The president and vice-president of the court are elected for three-year terms by secret ballot. Judges are eligible for re-election.
Q How many Indians have been in ICJ ?
- Four Indians have been members of the ICJ so far.
- Justice Dalveer Bhandari, former judge of the Supreme Court, has been serving at the ICJ since 2012.
- Former Chief Justice of India R S Pathak served from 1989-91, and former Chief Election Commissioner of India Nagendra Singh from 1973-88.
- Singh was also president of the court from 1985-88, and vice-president from 1976-79.
- Before him, Sir Benegal Rau, who was an advisor to the Constituent Assembly, was a member of the ICJ from 1952-53.
Q Which Indian cases are in the ICJ ?
- India has been a party to a case at the ICJ on six occasions, four of which have involved Pakistan.
- They are:
- Right of Passage over Indian Territory (Portugal v. India, culminated 1960);
- Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council (India v. Pakistan, culminated 1972);
- Trial of Pakistani Prisoners of War (Pakistan v. India, culminated 1973);
- Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 (Pakistan v. India, culminated 2000);
- Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. India, culminated 2016); and
- (Kulbhushan) Jadhav (India v. Pakistan, culminated 2019).