International Court of Justice (ICJ)


    In News 

    • Recently, Ukraine filed an application instituting proceedings against the Russian Federation before the International Court of Justice (ICJ).


    • In its Application, Ukraine contends, “the Russian Federation has falsely claimed that acts of genocide have occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine, and on that basis recognized the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’, and then declared and implemented a ‘special military operation’ against Ukraine”.
    • Ukraine “emphatically denies” that such genocide has occurred and states that it submitted the Application “to establish that Russia has no lawful basis to take action in and against Ukraine for the purpose of preventing and punishing any purported genocide.

    International Court of Justice (ICJ)

    • About:
      • The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). 
      • The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court.
      • 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).
      • Its official working languages are English and French.
    • Origin: 
      • 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 February 1922.
      • 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.
    • Composition: 
      • The ICJ consists of a panel of 15 judges elected by the UN General Assembly and Security Council for nine-year terms.
      • The Court may not include more than one national of the same State. 
      • Moreover, the Court as a whole must represent the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world. 
      • These organs vote simultaneously but separately. 
      • In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years. 
      •  Judges are eligible for re-election.  
    • Role and Responsibilities: 
      • The Court settles legal disputes submitted to it by States, in accordance with international law.  It also gives advisory opinions on legal questions referred by authorised UN organs and specialised agencies. Judgments in disputes between States are binding.  
        • The Court decides disputes between countries, based on the voluntary participation of the States concerned. If a State agrees to participate in a proceeding, it is obligated to comply with the Court’s decision.

    India & 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)
      • (Kulbhushan) Jadhav (India v. Pakistan, culminated 2019).
    • 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.