INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

  • Recently, Ukraine has filed an application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), instituting proceedings against Russia.
  • Ukraine has accused Russia of falsely claiming that “acts of genocide have occurred in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine”, and of using that as a pretext to recognise the independence of these regions and of going to war against Ukraine.
  • The dispute is concerning 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (the “Genocide Convention”).

International Court of Justice

  • The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
  • It is the only one of the six principal organs of the UN that is not located in New York City.
  • It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the UN and began work in April 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.
  • PCIJ 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 UN 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.
  • Its 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 UN organs and specialized agencies.
  • The first case, which was brought by the UK against Albania and concerned incidents in the Corfu channel — the narrow strait of the Ionian Sea between the Greek island of Corfu and Albania on the European mainland — was submitted in May 1947.
  • ICJ Administration: The judges of the court are assisted by a Registry, the administrative organ of the ICJ.
  • ICJ Jurisdiction: 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.
  • 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 ICJ are Elected

  • 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.
  • Elections are held at the UNHQ in New York during the annual UNGA meeting.
  • A third of the court is elected every three years.
  • The president and vice-president of the court are elected for three-year terms by secret ballot.
  • Judges are eligible for re-election.
  • Indian Judges at ICJ: 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,
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner of India Nagendra Singh from 1973-88.
  • Sir Benegal Rau, who was an advisor to the Constituent Assembly, was a member of the ICJ from 1952-53.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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