- The United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden and Ukraine launched a case against Iran at the International Court of Justice over the downing in 2020 of a Ukrainian passenger jet and the deaths of all 176 passengers and crew.
- The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in 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, and which held its inaugural sitting at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1922.
- After World War II, the League of Nations and PCIJ were replaced by the United Nations and ICJ respectively.
Seat and role
- 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 the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Secretariat.)
- The ICJ’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.
- English and French are the ICJ’s official languages.
- 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.
Judges of 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.
- A third of the court is elected every three years. Judges are eligible for re-election.