International Courts and Tribunals
**The International Court of Justice, the principle organ of the UN, is a standing tribunal
to which states may bring their disputes, and which is empowered to give advisory opinions to
UN organs and specialized agencies.
*Jurisdiction of ICJ- derives from the consent of the States parties to the case, which 1) may
be given either directly in respect of a specific dispute, or 2) Compromissory clause- in
advance in respect of a defined class or category of disputes.
3) Optional Clause- The
Statute of the Court also provides for acceptance of a general 'cumpulsory' jurisdiction by
simple declaration, which may however be subject to reservations.
**Decisions of the Court, given after an extensive written and oral procedure, are binding on
the parties in respect of the case, but not otherwise (Article 59)
ICJ often referred to as 'World Court', but this is misleading as it suggests it is an intl
equivalent to national supreme court, a body empowered to pass judgement from a position
of superiority and supervision. NO SUCH TRIBUNAL EXISTS THOUGH.
*The ICJ can better be seen as a standing mechanism available for the peaceful settlement of
disputes between States, to the extent they wish to make use of it (Article 38- function)
-No dispute can be subject of decision of the Court unless the States parties to it have
consented to the Court's jurisdiction over that specific dispute, or over a class of disputes over
which that dispute is one.
-Access to the Court is enjoyed by all members of the UN, but its 'cumpulsory jurisdiction'
(misleading too) is accepted by only a fairly small number of States, and for the most part with
reservations that limit effective jurisdiction to certain classes of dispute.
*COURT HAS LIMITED JURISDICTION (CONSENTING STATES- reservations)
**The Court is defined in the UN Charter (Article 92) as the 'principle judicial organ' of the
Organization, but here also the term 'judicial' serves to distinguish the role of the Court from
that of its political organs, the General Assembly and Sec. Council.
-Doesnt mean court enjoys, within organization any position resembling that of the supreme
-It has no overriding power to interpret Charter. Controversial over whether it
can examine legality of UN's GA or SC decision.
-Despite, the Court plays an important role in the settlement of disputes, and maintenance of
peace, and in the development of international law.
*Function defined by its Statute (Article 38) as being "to decide, in accordance with
international law, such disputes as are submitted to it". Also can give advisory opinios on legal
questions submitted to it by GA or SC.
1) Arbiter of disputes among states