- The International Court of Justice (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 seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
- Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
- 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 Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
- It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ.
- Its official languages are English and French.
- All members of the UN are automatic parties to the statute, but this does not automatically give ICJ jurisdiction over disputes involving them. The ICJ gets jurisdiction only on the basis of consent of both parties.
Where does India stand vis-a-vis dispute resolution at ICJ?
- In September 1974, India declared the matters over which it accepts the jurisdiction of the ICJ. This declaration revoked and replaced the previous declaration made in September 1959.
- Among the matters over which India does not accept ICJ jurisdiction are: “disputes with the government of any State which is or has been a Member of the Commonwealth of Nations”, and “disputes relating to or connected with facts or situations of hostilities, armed conflicts, individual or collective actions taken in self-defence…”.
- The declaration, which includes other exceptions as well, has been ratified by Parliament.