Part of the sessions of the International Court of Justice (social media)

The United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Russia to immediately suspend its military operations in Ukraine following a case Kiev brought before the court shortly after Russia's war on it began on February 24.

The decision was supported by 13 judges to two, and although the court's decisions are binding, they have no direct means of implementing them, and countries have rarely ignored them in the past, as happened with Moscow, which announced its rejection of the court's decision.

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International Court of Justice

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June 26, 1945: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) was established under the Charter of the United Nations signed in San Francisco, replacing the Permanent Court of International Justice.

The seat of the Tribunal is located in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial body of the United Nations, whose mission, in accordance with international law, is to settle legal disputes submitted to it and to issue advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations bodies and specialized institutions.


The Court plays a bilateral role, as under international law it settles legal disputes submitted by Member States and also provides advisory opinions on legal matters referred to it by authorized international bodies and agencies.

The Court operates under a Statute very similar to that of its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice, which is an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations.

Since 1946, the International Court of Justice has ruled on disputes concerning land and maritime boundaries, territorial sovereignty, non-use of force and non-intervention in the internal affairs of States, diplomatic relations and hostages, right of political asylum, nationality, trusteeship, water passage rights and economic rights.

The Court also issued 28 advisory opinions on, inter alia, legal matters, most notably Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence, the legal consequences arising from the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, the regional status of South-West Africa (Namibia) and Western Sahara, and the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.


The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected by the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Security Council for a term of 9 years, elections are held every 3 years on a third of the seats, retired judges may be re-nominated, and the members of the Court do not represent their governments, but are independent judges.

Judges must have the qualifications required to hold the highest judicial offices in their countries, or be jurists with considerable competence in international law, and the composition of the Court must reflect the representation of the world's major civilizations and fundamental legal systems.

If the Court does not include a judge who is a national of a State Party to a case, that State may appoint a person to act as a judge for that particular purpose.

Only states can apply to the court and appear before it, and the number of UN member states entitled to do so is 191.

The Court is competent to hear a dispute only if the States concerned agree to its competence through the following means:

By agreement among themselves on a special unanimity to submit the dispute to the court.

– Under the jurisdiction clause, that is, when States are parties to an agreement containing a clause that, in the event of a dispute over its interpretation or application, one of these States may refer the dispute to the Court.

– Within the framework of the mutual influence of the statements of these States according to the law under which each State agreed to the jurisdiction of the Court, as an obligation in the event of a dispute with another State that made a similar statement.

The proceedings include the recording phase, in which the parties raise and exchange allegations, and the oral stage, which includes public hearings to hear arguments in which agents and counsel address the Court.

Since the official languages of the Court are English and French, each blogger or speaker of one language is translated into the other.

After oral follow-ups, the court deliberates in secret and issues its verdict in an open session, and the verdict is final and not subject to appeal, and if one of the concerned countries does not comply with the ruling, the other party may resort to the UN Security Council.

The Court may also establish a special judicial body, which was first established in 1982, the second in 1985, two in 1987 and the same in 2002.

1993: The Court established a seven-member panel to adjudicate environmental cases falling within its jurisdiction.

The Court elects an Expedited Proceedings Panel each year in accordance with its Statute.

The Court shall rule on its rulings in accordance with applicable international treaties and covenants, international custom, general legal rules, judicial rulings and the teachings of eminent international law experts as additional sources.

The Court's advisory procedures are open only to international organizations, and the bodies currently authorized to seek the Court's advice are 5 UN organs and 16 specialized agencies.

Are court decisions binding?

The decisions of the International Court of Justice are binding and final with respect to States, and an appeal can be lodged against them (Article 94.1 of the Charter, Article 60 of the Statute).

The Security Council has the power, at the request of the affected State, to implement special measures to enforce the judgment of the International Court of Justice (Article 94.2 of the Charter).

The following cases are currently before the Court:

Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary v. Slovakia).

Question of the delimitation of the continental shelf between Nicaragua and Colombia beyond 200 nautical miles of coast.

Alleged Violations of Sovereign Rights and Maritime Spaces in the Caribbean Sea (Nicaragua v. Colombia).

Dispute over the status and use of Silala waters (Chile vs. Bolivia).

Some Iranian assets (Iran v. United States).

Application of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (Ukraine v. Russia).

Jury Award issued on October 3, 1899 (Guyana v. Venezuela).

Alleged violations of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights (Iran v. United States).

Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (Palestine v. United States).

Guatemala's National, Islands and Maritime Claim (Guatemala v. Belize).

Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Gambia v. Myanmar).

Demarcation of land and maritime boundaries and sovereignty over the islands (Gabon v. Equatorial Guinea).

Implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Armenia v. Azerbaijan).

Application of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Azerbaijan v. Armenia).

International Court of Justice

Source : Al Jazeera