International Court of Justice and Its Role
Subject: Law | Topics: ,


The Justice plays a dominant role to provide for rule of law which is so essential for strengthening the foundations of democracy. This is more important for a developing democracy like Bangladesh where weaknesses of democracy in the absence of a strong Justice could pose threat to individual liberty. Access to justice and Justice as the last resort to justice is the demand of any democracy. Justice rescues the weak from the misuse of power by the strong; it protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority. For Justice to be strong and effective, Court of Justice & Its Role In International Dispute Settlement is the first precondition.

Objectives & Scope of the Study

The objectives of this research are:

  •   to review the present status of the Court of Justice & Its Role In International Dispute Settlement
  •   to analyze & assess the existing measures for ensuring Court of Justice & Its Role In International Dispute Settlement
  •   to find out weakness and problems of Justice
  •   to propose the betterment options for International Court of Justice & Its Role In International Dispute Settlement  & its improvement
  •   to ensure high standard of justice & people confidence on Justice.

The scope of this research includes the areas of information required to Collect analyze regarding the International Court of Justice & Its Role In International Dispute Settlement.


In the field of Justice the subject matter has a great importance. It is not only necessary for judicial person but also necessary for public in general to get justice. I hope that this will be a valuable asset for later workers in this field. Overall I expect that this thesis will benefit the country & countrymen.


In conducting this research some limitations have found. This field of research is very complicated and the materials are not available. In case of foreign elements it is very difficult to collect recent information and data. The collection of materials is not easy and free.


In Bangladesh Justice is a very important part of the government. Because as a growing democratic country it needs heavy judicial structure & position to ensure the public right & remedy. This can be ensured by strong International Court of Justice & Its Role In International Dispute Settlement.

It is expected that this thesis will contribute to improve the judicial administration and will be a part of the development in Bangladesh.


The creation of the court represented the culmination of a long development of methods for the pacific settlement of international disputes ,the origins of which can traced back to classical times .

Article 33 of the united Nations Charter lists the following methods for the pacific settlement of disputes between states: negotiation . enquiry, mediation conciliation arbitration, judicial settlement, and resort to regional agencies or arrangement; good offices should also be added to this list. Among these methods, certain involve appealing to third parties for example, mediation places the parties to a dispute in a position in which they can themselves resolve their dispute thanks to the intervention of a third party. Arbitration goes further, in the sense that a binding settlement can be achieved . the same is true of judicial settlement (the method applied by the international court of justice ), except that a court is subject to stricter rules than an arbitral tribunal, particularly in procedural matters.

Mediation and arbitration preceded judicial settlement in history.The former was known in ancient India and in the Islamic world, whilst numerous examples of the latter are to be found in ancient Greece, in China, among the Arabian tribes, in maritime customary law in medieval Europe and in papal practies.


The modern history of international arbitration is however, generally recognized as dating from the so-called jay treaty of 1794 between the united states of America and great Britain the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation provided for the creation of three mixed commissions, composed of American and British nationals in equal number, whose takes it would be to settle a number of outstanding question between the two countries which it had not been possible to resolve by negotiation.

Whilst it is true that these mixed commission were not strictly speaking organs of third-party adjudication they were intended to function to some extent as tribunals.

Research Methodology

The methodology used in the thesis is Qualitative Methodology. My research works are based on Analytical study. The main object this study is to find out the cause of Greenhouse Effect & how can protection this problem.

These are Primary sources & Secondary sources. The source based data has been collected from the International Laws & current situation. Other data collected from books, journals, newspaper, website, and internet.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The outbreak of war in September 1939 inevitably had serious consequences for the PCIJ, which had already for some years known a period of diminished activity. After its last public sitting on 4 December 1939, the permanent court of International justice did not in fact deal with any judicial business and no further elections of judges were help. In 1940 the court removed to GENEVA, a single judge remaining at the HAGUE, together with a few register officials of Dutch nationality. It was inevitable that even under the stress of the war some thought should be given to future of the court, as well to the creation of a new international political order.

In 1942 the United states secretary of state and the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom declared themselves in favour of the establishment or re-establishment of an international court after war, and the Inter-American juridical committee recommended the extension of the PCLTs jurisdiction. Early in 1943, the United Kingdom Government took the initiative of inviting a number of experts to London to constitute an informal inter-Allied committee to examine the matter. This committee, under the chairmanship of Sir William Malkin(United Kingdom), held 19meetings, which were attended by jurists from 11 countries. In its report, which was published on 10 February 1944, it recommended: that the statue of any new international court should be based on that of the permanent court of international court of Justice. Meanwhile, on 30 October 1943, following a conference between China, the USSR, the United Kingdom and the United States, a joint declaration was issued recognizing the necessity “of establishing at the earliest practicable date a general international organization,

based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all peace-loving States, and open to membership by all such States, large and small, for the maintenance of international peace and security”.

This declaration led to exchanges between the Four Powers at Dumbarton Oaks, resulting in the publication on 9 October 1944 of proposals for the establishment of a general international organization, to include an international court of justice. The next step was the convening of a meeting in Washington, in April 1945, of a committee of jurists representing 44 States. This Committee, under the chairmanship of G. H. Hackworth (United States), was entrusted with the preparation of a draft Statute for the future international court of justice, for submission to the San Francisco Conference, which during the months of April to June 1945 was to draw up the United Nations Charter.

The San Francisco Conference nevertheless showed some concern that all continuity with the past should not be broken, particularly as the Statute of the PCIJ had itself been drawn up on the basis of past experience, and it was felt better not to change something that had seemed to work well. The Charter therefore plainly stated that the Statute of the International Court of Justice was based upon that of the PCIJ. At the same time, the necessary steps were taken for a transfer of the jurisdiction of the PCIJ so far as was possible to the International Court of Justice. The judges of the PCIJ all resigned on 31 January 1946, and the election of the first Members of the International Court of Justice took place on 6 February 1946, at the First Session of the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. In April 1946, the PCIJ was formally dissolved, and the International Court of Justice, meeting for the first time, elected as its President Judge Jose Gustavo Guerrero ( El Salvador), the last President of the PCIJ. The Court appointed the members of its Registry (largely from among former officials of the PCIJ) and held an inaugural public sitting, on the 18th of that month. The first case was submitted in May 19472. It concerned incidents in the Corfu Channel and was brought by Ihc United Kingdom against Albania.


The ICJ is composed of fifteen judges elected to nine year terms by the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council from a list of persons nominated by the national groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The election process is set out in Articles 4-19 of the 1CJ statute. Judges serve for nine year terms and may be re-elected for up to two further terms. Elections take place every three years, with one-third of the judges retiring (and possibly standing for re-election) each time, in order to ensure continuity within the court.

Should a judge die in office, the practice has generally been to elect a judge of the same nationality lo complete the term. No two may be nationals of the same country. According to Article 9, the membership of the Court is supposed to represent the “main forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems of the world”. Essentially, this has meant common law, civil law and socialist law (now post-communist law). Since the 1960s four of the five permanent members of the Security Council (France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) have always had a judge on the Court, The exception was China (the Republic of China until 1971, the People’s Republic of China from 1971 onwards), which did not have a judge on the Court from 1967-1985, because it did not put forward a candidate.

Article 2 of the Statute provides that all judges should be “elected regardless of their nationality among persons of high moral character”, who are either qualified for the highest judicial office in their home states or known as lawyers with sufficient competence in international law. Judicial independence is dealt specifically with in Articles 16-18. Judges of the ICJ are not able to hold any other post, nor act as counsel. In practice the Members of the Court have their own interpretation of these rules. A judge can be dismissed only by a unanimous vote of other members of the Court. Despite these provisions, the independence of ICJ judges has been questioned. For example, during the Nicaragua Case, the USA issued a iommuniqufi suggesting that it could not present sensitive material to the Court because of the presence of judges from Eastern bloc states.

Judges may deliver joint judgments or give their own separate opinions. Decisions and Advisory Opinions are by majority and, in the event of an equal division, the President’s vote becomes decisive. Judges may also deliver separate dissenting opinions.

Ad hoc judges

Article 31 of ihe statute sets out a procedure whereby ad hoc judges sit on contentious cases before the Court. This system allows any party to a contentious case to nominate a judge of their choosing. H is possible that as many as seventeen judges may sit on, one case.

This system may seem strange when compared with domestic court processes, but its purpose is to encourage states to submit cases to the Court. For example, if a state knows it will have a judicial officer who can participate in deliberation and offer other judges local knowledge and an understanding of the state’s perspective that state may be more willing to submit lo the Court’s jurisdiction.


Generally, the Court sits as full bench, but in the last fifteen years it has on occasion sat as a chamber. Articles 26-29 of the statute allow the Court to form smaller chambers, usually 3 or 5 judges, to hear cases. Two types of chambers are contemplated by Article 26: firstly, chambers for special categories of cases, and second, the formation of ad hoc chambers to hear particular disputes, la 1993 a special chamber was established, under Article 26(1) of the 1CJ statute, to deal specifically with environmental matters (although this chamber has never been used).

Ad hoc chambers are more frequently convened. For example, chambers were used to hear the Gulf of Maine Case (USA v Canada). In that case, the parties made clear they would withdraw the case unless the Court appointed judges to the chamber who were acceptable to the parties. On the other hand, the use of chambers might encourage greater recourse to the Court and thus enhance international dispute resolution.

Re-elected were France’s Ronny Abraham and Jordan’s Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh (terms expired on 5 February 2009), while UK’s Christopher Greenwood. Brazil’s Antonio Au gusto Cancado Trindade and Somalia’s Abdulqawi YusuF(terms began on 6 February 2009) were newly elected.

The declared candidates Sayeman Bula-Bula (Democratic Republic of the Congo.), Miriam Defensor-Santiago (Philippines) and Maurice Kamto (Cameroon) lost in the final voting. The 3 new judges replaced UK’s Rosalvn Higgins (1CJ President), Gonzalo Parra Arantuircn of Venezuela and Madagascar’s Raymond Ranjeva (terms all expired on 5 February 2009).


Main article: Jurisdiction oft he International Court of Justice As stated in Article 93 of the UN Charter, all 192 UN members are automatically parties to the Court’s statute. Non-UN members may also become parties to the Court’s statute under the Article 93(2) procedure. For example, before becoming a UN member state, Switzerland used this procedure in 1948 to become a party. And Nauru became a party in 1988. The issue of jurisdiction is considered in the two types of 1CJ cases: contentious issues and advisory opinions.

Contentious issues

In contentious cases (adversarial proceedings seeking to settle a dispute), the ICJ produces a binding ruling between states that agree to submit to the ruling of the court. Only suites may be parties in contentious cases. Individuals, corporations, parts of a federal suite. NGOs, UN organs and self-determination groups are excluded from direct participation in cases, although the Court may receive information from public international organisations. This does not preclude non-state interests from being the subject of proceedings if one state brings the case against another. For example, a state may, in case of “diplomatic protection”, bring a case on behalf of one of its nationals or corporations. The International Court of Justice Research Guide Written by Dana Neaesu Last Updated January 23, 2008

Jurisdiction is often a crucial question for the Court in contentious cases. (See Procedure below.) The key principle is that the ICJ has jurisdiction only on the basis of consent. Article 36 outlines four bases on which the Court’s jurisdiction may be founded.

First. 36(1) provides that parties may refer cases to the Court (jurisdiction founded on “special agreement” or “compromis”). This method is based on explicit consent rather than true compulsory jurisdiction.

      Second, 36(1) also gives the Court jurisdiction over “matters specifically provided for … in treaties and conventions in force”. Most modern treaties will contain a compromissory clause, providing for dispute resolution by the ICJ.    For example, during the Iran hostage crisis, 1 ran refused to participate in a case brought by the US based on a compromissory clause contained in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, not did it comply with the judgment. Since the 1970s, the use of such clauses has declined. Many modern treaties set out their own dispute resolution regime, often based on forms of arbitration.

      Third, Article 36(2) allows states to make optional clause declarations accepting the Court’s jurisdiction. The label “compulsory” which is sometimes placed on Article 36(2) jurisdiction is misleading since ftolaratfcns by states are voluntary.

Furthermore, many declarations contain reservations, such as exclusion from jurisdiction certain types of disputes (“ratione material”). The principle of reciprocity may further limit jurisdiction. As of February 2011, sixty-six states had a declaration in force. Of the permanent Security Council members, only the United Kingdom has a declaration. In the Court’s early years, most declarations were made by industrialised countries. Examples include the USA, as mentioned previously and Australia who modified their declaration in 2002 to exclude disputes on maritime boundaries (most likely to prevent an impending challenge from East Timor who gained their independence two months later).

Finally. 36(5) provides for jurisdiction on the basis of declarations made under the Permanent Conn of international Justice’s statute. Article 37 of the Statute similarly transfers jurisdiction under any compromissory clause in a treaty that gave jurisdiction to the FCIJ.

International Law and International Jurisdiction

At the end of the 19th century, governments met at the First Peace Conference at The Hague and decided to codify international law in treaties. Furthermore, they reached an agreement lo establish the first permanent international court, the Permanent Court of Arbitration.  Article 14 of the Covenant of the League of Nations provided for the creation of a judicial body entrusted with two kinds of jurisdiction: contentious and advisory were clearly envisaged. In 1921, the predecessor of the Imcrnaiioruil Court of Justice (1C.I). the Permanent Court of International Justice (PC1J) materialized. The PC1.I was dissolved in 1946 at the same time as the League’ of Nations.

The 1CJ is an organ of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice forms an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations. The court has functioned since 1945. It does not have compulsory international jurisdiction, and its main function remains to decide in accordance with international law all disputes submitted to it, (Article 38).

The ICJ: Judgments & Advisory Opinions. How to Find a Judgment

Within Ihe limits of its ratione materiae, as mentioned above, the ICJ has both contentious and advisory jurisdictions. For the last sixty years it has had the opportunity 10 render hundreds of opinions which, due to numerous print and online sources are relatively easy to research.

The judgments of the Court are binding in law, although states do not always comply with the 1C.) judgments. However, as statistics show – see Paulson, Colter, “Compliance with Final Judgments of the International Court of Justice since 1987” 98 Am. J. Int’l. L. 434, 458-459 (2004) – while the overall percentage of full compliance by states has decreased since 1987 from 80% from 1946 to 1987 to 60% from 1987 to 2004, partial compliance has probably increased. Furthermore, the ICJ continues to be perceived as fulfilling its role a part of the United Nations system of maintaining peace and security.

The ICJ: The Procedure before the Court How to Find the Court Rules

The Statute ot’lhe ICJ contains the relevant rules regarding the procedure before the Court: “Competence of the Court” (Arts. 34-38), “Procedure” (Arts. 39-64), “Advisory Opinions” (Arts. 65-68).

 Advisory opinion

Audience of the “Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo”

An advisory opinion is a function of the Court open only to specified United Nations bodies and agencies. On receiving a request, the Court decides which States and organizations might provide useful information and gives them an opportunity to present written or oral statements. Advisory Opinions were intended as a means by which UN agencies could seek the Court’s help in deciding complex legal issues that might fall under their respective mandates.   An advisory opinion derives its status and authority from the fact that it is the official pronouncement of the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, Advisory Opinions have often been controversial, either because the questions asked are controversial, or the case was pursued as an indirect way of bringing what is really a contentious case before the Court. Examples of advisory opinions can be found in the section advisory opinions in the List of International Court of Justice cases article. One such well-known advisory opinion is the Nuclear Weapons Case.

ICJ and the Security Council

Article 94 establishes the duty of all UN members to comply with decisions of the Court involving them. If parties do not comply, the issue may be taken before the Security Council for enforcement action. There are obvious problems with such a method of enforcement. If the judgment is against one of the permanent five members of the Security Council or its allies, any resolution on enforcement would then be vetoed. This occurred, for example, after the Nicaragua case, when Nicaragua brought the issue of the U.S.’s non-compliance with the Court’s decision before the Security Council.  Furthermore, the most effective form to uiku action for the Security Council – coercive action under chapter VII of the United Nations Charter – can only be justified if international peace and security are at slake. The Security Council has never done this so far. The relationship between the ICJ and the Security Council, and the separation of their powers, was considered by the Court in 1992 in the Pan Am case. The problem was that these sanctions had been authorized by the Security Council, which resulted with a potential conflict between the Chapter VII functions of the Security Council and the judicial function of the Court. The Court decided, by eleven votes to five, that it could not order the requested provisional measures because the rights claimed by Libya, even if legitimate under the Montreal Convention, prima facie could not be regarded as appropriate since the action was ordered by the Security Council. In accordance with Article 103 of the UN Charier, obligations under the Charter took precedence over other treaty obligations. Nevertheless the Court declared the application admissible in 1998. A decision on the merits has not been given since the parties (United Kingdom, United States and Libya) settled the case out of court in 2003.

Should either party fail “to perform the obligations incumbent upon it under a judgment rendered by the Court”, the Security Council may be called upon to “make recommendations or decide upon measures” if the Security Council deems such actions necessary. In practice, the Court’s powers have been limited by the unwillingness of the losing party to abide by the Court’s ruling, and by the Security Council’s unwillingness to impose consequences.

 Law applied

Main article: Sources of international law

When deciding cases, the Court applies international law as summarized in-Article 38 of the IC.I Statute provides thai in arriving at its decisions the Court shall apply international conventions, international custom, and the “general principles of law recognized by civilized nations”. It may also refer to academic writing (“the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations”) and previous judicial decisions to help interpret the law, although the Court is not formally bound by its previous decisions under the doctrine of stare dec’is’is. Article 59 makes clear that the common law notion of precedent or stare decisis does not apply to the decisions of the ICJ. The Court’s decision binds only the parties to that particular controversy. Under 38(l)(d), however, the Court may consider its own previous decisions. In reality, the ICJ rarely departs from its own previous decisions and treats them as precedent in a way similar to superior courts in common law systems. Additionally, international lawyers commonly operate as though ICJ judgments had precedential value.

If the parties agree, they may also grant the Court the liberty to decide ex aequo et bono (“in justice and fairness”), granting the ICJ the freedom to make an equitable decision based on what is fair under the circumstances. This provision has not been used in the Court’s history. So far the International Court of Justice has dealt with about 130 cases.


The ICJ is vested with the power to make its own rules. Court procedure is set out in Rules of Court of the International Court of Justice 1978. (as amended on 29 September Z005).

 Preliminary objections

A respondent who does not wish to submit to the jurisdiction of the Court may raise Preliminary Objections. Any such objections must be ruled upon before the Court, can address the merits of the applicant’s claim. Often a separate public hearing is held on the Preliminary Objections and the Court will render a judgment. Respondents normally file Preliminary Objections lo the jurisdiction of the Court and or the admissibility of the case. Inadmissibilily refers lo a range of arguments about factors the Court should take into account in deciding jurisdiction; for example, that the issue is not justiciable or that it is not a “legal dispute”.

In addition, objections may be made because all necessary parties are not before the Court. If the case necessarily requires the Court to rule on the rights and obligations of a state that has not consented to the Court’s jurisdiction, the Court will not proceed to issue a judgment on the merits. Once till written arguments are filed, the Court will hold a public hearing on the merits.

Once a case has been Hied, any party (but usually the Applicant) may seek an order from the Court lo protect the status quo pending the hearing of the case. Such orders are known as Provisional (or Interim) Measures and are analogous to jnterlocutory injunctions in United States law. The Court must be satisfied lo have prima facie jurisdiction to hear the merits of the case before granting provisional measures.

Applications to intervene

In cases where a third slate’s interests are affected, that state may be permitted lo intervene in the case, and participate as a full party. Under Article 62, a state “with an interest of a legal nature” may apply; however, it is within the Court’s discretion whether or not to allow the intervention. Intervention applications are rare — the first successful application occurred in 1991.

Judgment and remedies

Once deliberation has taken place, the Court will issue a majority opinion. Individual judges may issue separate opinions (if they agree with the outcome reached in the judgment of the court but differ in their reasoning) or dissenting opinions (if they disagree with the majority), No appca! is possible, though any party may ask for the court to clarify if there is a dispute as to the meaning or scope of the court’s judgment.


This  law-related  article  does  not cite  its  references or sources.  You can  hel including appropriate citations, which  can  be found through  legal research. The International Court has been criticized with respect to its rulings, its procedures, and its authority. As with United Nations criticisms as a whole, many of these criticisms refer more to the general authority assigned to the body by member states through its charter than to specific problems with the composition of judges or their rulings. Major criticisms include:

  • “Compulsory” jurisdiction is limited to cases where both parties have agreed to
    submit   to   its   decision,   and,   as   such,   instances   of aggression   tend   to   be automatically escalated to and adjudicated by the Security Council.
  • Organizations, private enterprises, and individuals cannot have their cases takento the International Court, such as to appeal a national supreme court’s ruling.U.N. agencies likewise cannot bring up a case except in advisory opinions (a process initiated by the court and non-binding).

Other existing international thematic courts, such as the ICC, are not under the umbrella of the International Court.

• The   International   Court   docs   not   enjoy   a   full   separation   of powers,   with permanent members of the Security Council being able to veto enforcement of even cases to which they consented in advance to be bound

Members of the Court

The International Court of Justice is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs vote simultaneously but separately. In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies. This sometimes makes it necessary for a number of rounds of voting to be carried out.

In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years. Judges are eligible for re-election. Should a judge die or resign during his or her term of office, a special election is held as soon as possible to choose a judge to fill the Linexpired part of the term.

Elections arc held in New York (United States of America) on the occasion of the annual autumn session of the General Assembly. The judges elected at a triennial election enter upon their term of office on 6 February of the following year, after which the Court proceeds to elect by secret ballot a President and a Vice-President to hold office for three years.

All States parlies to the Statute of the Court have the right to propose candidates. These proposals arc- made not by the government of the State concerned, but by a group consisting of the members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (see “History”) designated by thai State, i.e. by the four jurists who can be called upon to serve as members of an arbitral tribunal under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.The names of candidates must be communicated to the Secretaiy-General of the United Nations within a time-limit laid down by him/her.

Judice from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law.

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.

 Once elected, a Member of the Court is a delegate neither of the government of his own country nor of that of any other State. Unlike most other organs of international organizations, the Court is not composed of representatives of governments. Members of the Court are independent judges whose first task, before taking up their duties, is to make a solemn declaration in open court that they will exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.

In order to guarantee his or her independence, no Member of the Court can be dismissed unless, in the unanimous opinion of the other Members, he/she no longer fulfils the required conditions. This has in fact never happened.

A Member of the Court, when engaged on the business of the Court, enjoys privileges and immunities comparable with those of the head of a diplomatic mission. In The Hague, ihe President takes precedence over the doyen of the diplomatic corps, after which precedence alternates between judges and ambassadors. Each Member of the Court receives an annual salary consisting of a base salary (which for 2010 amounts to US$166,596) and post adjustment, with a special supplementary allowance of US$15,000 for the President.  On leaving the Court, they receive annual pensions which, after a nine-year term of office, amount to 50 per cent of the annual base salary.

Although the Court is deemed to be permanently in session, only its President is obliged to reside in The Hague. In practice, the majority oi Court Members reside in Vie Hague ana all will normally spend the greater part of the year there.


The President and the Vice-President are elected by the Members of the Court every three years by secret ballot. The election is held on the date on which Members of the Court elected at a triennial election are to begin, their terms of office or shortly thereafter. An absolute majority is required and there arc no conditions with regard to nationality. The President and the Vice-President may be re-elected.

‘The President presides at alt meetings of the Court; he/she directs its work and supervises its administration, with the assistance of a Budgetary and Administrative Committee and of various other committees, all composed of Members of the Court. During judicial deliberations, the President has a casting vole in the event of votes being equally divided.

 The President receives a special supplementary allowance of 15,000 dollars per annum. In addition to his/her annual salary.

The Vice-President replaces the President in his/her absence, in the event of his/her inability to exercise his/her duties, or in the event of a vacancy in the presidency. For this purpose he/she receives a daily allowance. In the absence of the Vice-President, this role devolves upon the senior judge.

Chambers and Committees

Chambers :-

The Court generally discharges its duties as a full Court (a quorum of nine judges, excluding judges ad hoc, being sufficient). But it may also form permanent temporary chambers.

High Court three types of chamber:

the Chamber of Summary Procedure, comprising five judges, including the President and Vice-President, and two substitutes, which the Court is required by Article 29 of the Statute to form annually with a view to the speedy dispatch of business;

  • any chamber, comprising at least three judges, that the Court may form pursuant
    to Article 26, paragraph 1, of the Statute to deal with certain categories of cases,  such as labor or communications;
  • any chamber that the Court may form pursuant to Article 26, paragraph 2, of the Statute to deal with a particular case, after  formally  consulting the parties regarding the number of its members – and informally regarding their name- who will then sit in ail phases of the case until its final conclusion, even if in the meantime they cease to be Members of the Court.

 In the Chamber’s 13 years of existence, however, no State ever requested that a case be dealt with by it. The Court consequently dceided in 2006 not to hold elections for a Bench for the said Chamber.

Despite the advantages that chambers can offer in certain cases, under the terms of the Statute their use remains exceptional. Their formation requires the consent of the parties. While, to date, no case has been heard by either of the first two types of chamber, by contrast there have been six cases dealt with by ad hoc chambers.

Chamber of Summary Procedure

The current composition of this Chamber which, at the request of the parties, may hear and determine cases by summary procedure is as follows:



  • Hisashi Ovvada
  • Vice-President
  • Peter Tomka
  • Judges
  • Abdul G. Koroma
  • Bruno Simma Substitute members:
  • Judges
  • Bernardo Sepulveda-Amor
  • Leonid Skotnikov

Rules Committee

In 1979, the Court established a standing Rules Committee. This committee advises the Court on procedural issues and working methods.

The present composition of the Committee is as follows:

  1. Judges
  2. Awn Shawkal Al-Khasawnch
  3. Ronny Abraham
  4. Kenneth Keith
  5. Leonid Skotnikov
  6. Antonio A. Cancado Trindade
  7. Christopher Greenwood
  8. Judges ad hoc
  9. Under Article 3 1, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Statute of the Court, a State party to a case before the International Court of Justice which does not have ajudge of its nationality on the Bench may choose a person to sit as judge ad hoc in that specific case under the conditions laid down in Articles 35 to 37 of the Rules of Court.

A judge ad hoc takes part in any decision concerning the case on terms of complete equality with his/her colleagues and receives a fee for every day on which he/she discharges his/her duties, that is to say, every day spent in The Hague in order to take part in the Court’s work, plus each day devoted to consideration of the case outside The 1 lague.

It follows from the foregoing that the composition of the International Court of Justice will vary from one case to another and that the number of judges sitting in a given case will not necessarily be 15. There may be fewer, where one or more elected judges do not sit, or as many as 16 or 17 where there are judges ad hoc; in theory there may even be more than 17 judges on the Bench if there are several parties to a case who are not in the same interest. The composition of the Court may also sometimes vary from one phase of a case to another: in other words, the composition need not necessarily be the same with respect to provisional measures, preliminary objections and the merits. Nevertheless, once the Court has been finally constituted for a given phase of a case, i.e., from the opening of the oral proceedings on that phase until the delivery of judgment with respect thereto, its composition will not change.

The right of an elected judge having the nationality of one of the parties in a case to sit in the case has not been seriously questioned by legal scholars. It is clear simply from the result of the votes taken by the Court and from the separate and dissenting opinions submitted that such judges have often voted in disaccord with the submissions of their own country. on the role of the Court, “that the institution, which was a survival of the old arbitral procedures, was justified only by the novel character of the international judicial jurisdiction and would no doubt disappear as such jurisdiction became more firmly established”. Nevertheless, numerous writers take the view that it is useful for the Court to have participating in its deliberations a person more familiar with the views of one of the parties than the elected judges may sometimes be.

How the Court works

The Court may entertain two types of cases: legal disputes between States submitted to it bv them (contentious cases) and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings).

Contentious cases

Only Suucs (States Members of the United Nations and other States which have become parties lo the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions) may be parties to contentious cases.

The Court is competent to entertain a dispute only if the States concerned have accepted its jurisdiction in one or more of the following ways;

  • by entering into a special agreement to submit the dispute to the Court;
  • by virtue of a jurisdictional clause, i.e., typically, when they are parties to a treaty containing a provision whereby, in the event of a dispute of a given type or disagreement over the interpretation or application of the treaty, one of them may refer the dispute to the Court; through the reciprocal effect of declarations made by them under the Statute whereby each has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court as compulsory in the event of a dispute with another State having made a similar declaration. A number of these declarations, which must be deposited with the United Nations Secretary-General, contain reservations excluding certain categories of dispute.

States have no permanent representatives accredited to the Court. They normally communicate with the Registrar through the medium of their Minister for Foreign Affairs or their ambassador accredited to the Netherlands, Where they are parties to a case before the Court they are represented by an agent. In general, whenever a formal act is to be done by the government represented, it is done by the agent. Agents are sometimes assisted by co-agents, deputy agents or assistant agents and always have counsel or advocates, whose work they co-ordinate, to assist them in the preparation of pleadings and delivery of oral argument. Since there is no special International Court of Justice Bar, there are no conditions that nave to fulfilled for counsel or advocates to enjoy the right of arguing before it except only that they must have been appointed by a government to do so.

Proceedings may be instituted in one of two ways:

Through the notification of a special agreement:

 this document, which is of  bilateral nature, can be lodged with the Court by either of the States parties to proceedings or by both of them. A special agreement must indicate the subject the dispute and the parties thereto. Since there is neither an “applicant” State nor a “respondent” State, in the Court’s publications their names are separated by an oblique stroke at the end of the official title of the case, e.g., Benin/Niger; by means of an application: the application, which is of a unilateral nature, is submitted by an applicant State against a respondent State, It is intended for communication to the latter Stale and the Rules of Court contain stricter requirements with respect to its content. At the end of the official title of the case the names of the two parties are separated by the abbreviation “v. ” (For the Latin versus), e.g., Nicaragua v. Colombia.

The date of the institution of proceedings, which is that of the receipt by the Registrar of the special agreement or application, marks the opening of proceedings before the Court. Contentious proceedings include a written phase, in which the parties file and exchange pleadings containing a detailed statement of the points of fact and of law on which each party relies, and an oral phase consisting of public hearings at which agents and counsel address the Court.

By signing the Charter, a State Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with any decision of the Court in a case to which it is a party. Since, furthermore, a case can only be submitted to the Court and decided by it if the parties have in one way or another consented to its jurisdiction over the case; it is rare for a decision not to be implemented. A State which contends that the other side has failed to perform the obligations. Court may lay the matter before the Security Council, which is empowered to recommend or decide upon the measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment.

The Court discharges its duties as a full court but, at the request of the parties, it may also establish ad hoc chambers to examine specific eases. A Chamber of Summary Procedure is elected every year by the Court in accordance with its Statute.

The Registry

The Registry is the permanent administrative organ of the Court. It is accountable to the Court alone. It is headed by a Registrar, assisted by a

The -Registrar.

Those officials take an oath of loyalty and discretion on entering upon their duties. In general they enjoy the same privileges and immunities _as members of diplomatic missions at The Hague of comparable rank. They are subject to Staff Regulations, which are virtually identical with the United Nations, Staff Regulations, and to Instructions for the Registry. Their conditions of employment, alaries and pension rights correspond to Ihosfe of United equivalent category and grade; the costs are borne by the United Nations.

The Registrar

The Conn appoints its Registrar from among candidates proposed by Members of the Court, lie is elected for a term of seven years and may be re-elected. The Court also appoints a Deputy-Registrar to assist him, under the same conditions and in the same way as the Registrar.

The Deputy-Registrar assists the Registrar and acts as Registrar in the latter’s absence. has recently been entrusted with wider administrative responsibilities, including direct supervision  Archives, IT and General Assistance Divisions.

The present Registrar is Mr, Philippe Couvreur. of Belgian nationality, \vh6 was elected on 10 February 2000 for a term of seven years and who was re-elected on 8 February 2007 for a new term of seven years. The present Deputy-Registrar is Ms. Therese de Saint Phalle. of American and French nationality, who was elected on 9 October 2007 for a term of seven years as from 19 February 2008 .


The Court has a twofold role: to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (Contentious cases ) and to give advisory” opinions (Advisory proceedings’) on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

In Contentious proceedings, when a dispute is brought before the Court by a unilateral application filed by one State against another State, the names of parties in the official title of the case are separated by the abbreviation v. for the Latin versus (e.g., Cameroonv. Nigeria). When a dispute is submitted to the Court on the basis of a special agreement between two States, the names of the parties are separated by an oblique stroke (e.g., ndonesia/Mala he first case entered in the General List of the Court (Corfu Channel (United Kingdom v. Albania}} was submitted on 22 May 1947.

List of Advisory Proceedings referred to the Court since 1946 by date of introduction List of Advisory Proceedings 2010

Judgment No.2867 of the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization upon a Complaint Filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development (Request for Advisory Opinion) 2008

Accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo (Request for Advisory Opinion) 2003

Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territor 1998

Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict 1989

Applicability of Article VI, Section 22, of the Convention on the Privileges and

Immunities of the United Nations 1988

Applicability of the Obligation to Arbitrate under Section 21 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement of 26 June 1947

Application for Review of Judgment No, 273 of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal 1980

interpretation of (he Agreement Of 25 March 1951 between the WHO and Egypt 1974

Western Sahara 1972

Legal Consequences for States of the Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia (South West Africa) notwithstanding Security Council Resolution 276


Constitution of the Maritime Safety Committee of the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization 1955

Admissibility of Hearings of Petitioners by the Committee on South West

Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime Genocide 1949

Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations 1947

Conditions of Admission of a State to Membership in the United Nations (Article 4 of the Charter)

Basic Documents

The International Court of Justice was established by the Charter of the United Nations, which provides that aii Member states of the United Nations are ipsofaoio parties to the Court’s Statute. The composition and functioning of the Court are organized by this Statute, and by the Rules of the Court which are drawn up by the Court itself.

Since October 2001, the Court has also issued Practice Directions for use by States appearing before it.


The International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel is in breach of international law by establishing settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The Court maintains that Israel cannot rely on its right of self-defense or necessity to impose a regime that violates international law. The Court also ruled that Israel violates basic human rights by impeding liberty of movement and the inhabitants’ right to work, health, education and an adequate standard of living. ‘

International intergovernmental organizations such as the Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, major organs of the United Nations, the European Union, and Canada regard the settlements as a violation of international law. There is a consensus among publicists that the prohibition of racial discrimination, irrespective of territories, is an imperative norm of international law. Amnesty Internationa], and Human Rights Watch have also characterized the settlements as a violation of international law. In 1978, the Legal Adviser of the Department of State reached the same       conclusion.

In 1967, Theodor Meron, legal counsel to the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated in a legal opinion to the Prime Minister, “My conclusion is that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The legal opinion, forwarded to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, was not made public at the time, and the Labor cabinet progressively sanctioned settlements anyway; this action paved the way for future settlement growth. In 2007, Meron stated that “I believe that I would have given the same opinion today.

 Julius Stone said that the notion that establishing settlements violates Article 49(6) was “irony bordering on the absurd”: “We would have to say that the effect of Article 49(6) is to impose an obligation on the State of Israel to ensure (by force if necessary) that these areas, despite their millennial association with Jewish life, shall be forever Jude rein. Irony would thus be pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49(6), designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories Jude rein, has now come to mean thatD.f V’l.Hthe West Bankn. D.n.Dmust be made Jude rein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants. Common sense as well as correct historical and functional context exclude so tyrannical a reading of Article 49(6).

In 1998 the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs produced “The International Criminal Court Background Paper. It concludes International law has long recognized that there are crimes of such severity they should be considered international crimes. Such crimes have been established in treaties such as the Genocide Convention and the Geneva Conventions The following are Israel’s primary issues of concern with the rules of the ICC]: The inclusion of settlement activity as a “war crime” is a cynical attempt to abuse the Court for political ends. The implication that the transfer of civilian population to occupied territories can be classified as a crime equal in gravity to attacks on civilian population centres or mass murder is preposterous and has no basis in international law.

Human rights organizations

Settlements (darker pink) and areas of West Bank (lighter pink) where access to Palestinians was closed or restricted, January 2006 Amnesty International argues that Israel’s settlement policy is discriminatory and a violation of Palestinian human rights.  Tselem claims that Israeli travel restrictions impact on Palestinian freedom of movement and Palestinian human rights have been violated in Hebron due to the presence of the settlers within the Tselem, over fifty percent of West Bank land expropriated from Palestinians has been used to establish settlements and create reserves of land for their future expansion. The seized lands mainly benefit the settlements and Palestinians cannot use them. The organization also claims that roads built by Israel in the West Bank that are closed to Palestinian vehicles are ‘discriminatory.


Palestinian officials estimate that settlers sell goods worth some $500 million to the Palestinian market. European Union law requires a distinction to be made between goods originating in Israel and those from the occupied territories. The former benefit from preferential custom treatment according to the EU-Israel Association Agreement (2000); the latter don’t. In 2009, the United Kingdom’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued new guidelines concerning labelling of goods imported from the West Bank. The new guidelines require labelling to clarify whether West Bank products originate from settlements or from the Palestinian economy. Israel’s foreign ministry said that the UK was “catering to the demands of those whose ultimate goal is the boycott of Israeli products”; but this was denied by the UK government, who said that the aim of the new regulations was to allow consumers to choose for themselves what produce they buy.

 The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Israeli companies, are entitled to exploit the West Bank’s natural resources for economic gain, and that international law must be “adapted” to the “reality on the ground” of long-term occupation.

Incidents of violence

Gush Emunim Underground was a militant organization that operated in 1979-1984. The organization planned attacks on Palestinian officials and the Dome of the Rock. In 1994, Baruch Goldstein of Hebron, a member of Kach carried out the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, killing 29 Muslim worshipers and injuring 125. The attack was widely condemned by the Israeli government and Jewish community. The Palestinian leadership has accused Israel of “encouraging and enabling” settler violence in a bid to provoke Palestinian riots and violence in retaliation.

Leading religious figures in the West Bank have harshly critici cd these tactics. Rabbi Menachem Froman of Tekoa said that “Targeting Palestinians and their property is a shocking thing, (…) It’s an act of hurting humanity. (…) This builds a wall of fire between Jews and Arabs. The Yesha Council and Hanan Porat also condemned suchactions. Other rabbis have been accused of inciting violence against non-Jews. response to settler violence, the Israeli government said that it would increase law enforcement and cut off aid to illegal outposts.’ Some settlers are thought to lash out at Palestinians because they are “easy victims.

In September 2011, settlers vandalized a mosque and an army base. They slashed tires and cut cables of 12 army vehicles and sprayed graffiti. In November 2011, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) m the Palestinian territories published a report on settler violence that showed a significant rise compared to 2009 and 2010. The report covered physical violence and property damage such as uprooted olive trees, damaged tractors and slaughtered sheep. The report states that 90% of complaints filed by Palestinians have been closed without charge.

Impact on peace process

Main article: Peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Gush Katif was a block of 16 Israeli settlements in the southern Gaza Strip. Its 8.000 residents were forced to leave and had their homes demolished in August 2005 as part of Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan.

The settlements have been a source of tension between Israel and the U.S. Jimmy Carter regarded the settlements as illegal and tactically unwise. Ronald Reagan stated that they were legal but an obstacle to negotiations In 1991, the U.S. delayed a subsidized loan to pressure Israel on the subject of settlement-building in the Jerusalem-Bethlehem corridor. In 2005, U.S.

Final status proposals have called for retaining long-established communities along the Green Line and transferring the same amount of land in Israel to the Palestinian state. The Clinton administration proposed that Israel keep some settlements in the West Bank, especially those in large blocs near the pre-1967 burden ofhrad, with the Palestinians receiving concessions of land in other pails of the country.Both Clinton and Tony Blair pointed out the need for territorial and diplomatic compromise based on the validity of some of the claims of both sides.

In December 2010, the United States criticised efforts by the Palestinian Authority to impose borders for the two states through the United Nations rather than through direct negotiations between the two sides. In February 201 1, it vetoed a draft resolution to condemn all Jewish settlements established in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1967 as illegal. The resolution, which was supported by all other Security Council members and co-sponsored by over 120 nations. would have demanded that “Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it filly respect its legal Obligations in this regard. The U.S. representative said that while it agreed that the settlements were illegal, the resolution would harm chances for negotiations Israel’s deputy Foreign Minister, Daniel Ayalon, said that the “UN serves as a rubber stamp for the Arab countries and, as such, the General Assembly has an automatic majority. and that (he vote “proved that the United States is the only country capable of advancing (he peace process and the only righteous one speaking the truth: that direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians are required. Palestinian negotiators, however, have refused to resume direct talks until Israel ceases all settlement activity.


The Clinton Parameters included a plan on which the Palestinian State was to include 94-96% of the West Bank, and around 80% of the settlers were to remain under Israeli sovereignty, and in exchange for that, Israel will concede some territory (so called Territory Exchange’ or ‘Land Swap’) within the Green Line (1967 borders). The swap would consist of 1-3% of Israeli territory, such that the final borders of the West Bank, part of the Palestinian state would include 97% of the land of the original borders.

Under any peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel intends to keep the major settlement blocs close to its borders, which contain over 80% of the settlers. Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu have all stated Israel’s intent to keep such blocs under any peace agreement. U.S. President George W. Bush acknowledged that such areas should be annexed to Israel in a 2004 letter to Prime Minister Sharon.

 According to Mitchell G. Bard: “Ultimately, Israel may decide to unilaterally disengage from the West Bank and determine which settlements it will incorporate within the borders it delineates. Israel would prefer, however, to negotiate a peace treaty with the Palestinians that would specify which Jewish communities will remain intact within the mutually agreed border of Israel, and which will need to be evacuated. Israel will undoubtedly insist that some or all of the “consensus” blocs become part of Israel.

Proposal of dual citizenship

A number of proposals for the granting of Palestinian citizenship or residential permits to Jewish settlers in return for the removal of Israeli military installations from the West Bank have been fielded by such individuals as Arafat, Ibrahim Sarsur and Ahmed Qurei.

The idea has been expressed by both advocates of the two-state solution   ‘   and supporters of the settlers and conservative or fundamentalist currents in Israeli Judaism that, while objecting to any withdrawal, claim stronger links lo the land than to the state of Israel.

Impact on Palestinian demographics

Sushil P. Seth writes that Israelis seem to feel that increasing settlements will force many Palestinians to flee to other countries and that the remainder will be forced to live under Israeli terms.

Human Rights Watch has determined that Israeli settlement policies has had the effect of “forcing residents to leave their communities”.

In 2008, Condoleezza Rice suggested sending Palestinian refugees to South America, which might reduce pressure on Israel to withdraw from the settlements.

Palestinian Statehood bid of 2011

American refusal to declare the settlements illegal was said to be the determining factor in the 2011 attempt to declare Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, the so-called Palestine 194 initiative.

Israel announced additional settlements in response to the Palestinian diplomatic initiative and Germany responded by moving to stop deliveries to Israel of submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Educational institutions

Ariel University Center of Samaria, formerly the College of Judea and Samaria, is the major Israeli institution of higher education in the West Bank. It is Israel’s largest public college. The college was accredited in 1994 and awards bachelor degrees in arts, sciences, technology, architecture and physical therapy. Teacher training colleges include Herzog College in Alon Shvut and Orot Israel College in Elkana. Ohalo College is located in Katzrin, in the Golan Heights. Curricula at these institutions are overseen by the Council for Higher Education in Judea and Samaria (CHE-JS).

Evacuation of Neve Dekalim.The evacuation was carried out with force in some instances, for example in Yamit. The settlements were demolished, as it was feared that settlers might try to return to their homes after the evacuation. srael’s unilateral disengagement plan took place in 2005. It involved the evacuation of settlements in the Gaza Strip and part of the West Bank, including all 21 settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank, while retaining control over Gaza’s borders, coastline, and airspace.Within the former settlements, almost all buildings were demolished by Israel, with the exception of certain government and religious structures, which were completely emptied. Under an international arrangement, productive greenhouses were left to assist the Palestinian economy but these were destroyed within hours by Palestinian looters.  Following the withdrawal, many of the former synagogues were torched and destroyed by Palestinians.


The modern proliferation of international courts and tribunals and the increasing use of binding third party adjudication to settle international disputes have neither achieved significant developments in international environmental law nor advanced the state of global environmental governance. In order to prevent further deterioration of natural resources and achieve environmental justice, the international community needs to rethink the existing alternatives for the improvement of the international judicial system.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ or the “World Court”) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and has general authority over any international law question, including environmental issues. The Statute of the Court includes many conservative procedural provisions, such as the ability of each state to determine whether it chooses to be subject to the decisions of the Court. Each state also has the option to accept ICJ jurisdiction based on a set of limitations and conditions. Furthermore, only states themselves can represent their interests before the court, and non-state actors therefore have no standing.

Despite these substantial limitations, the authority of the ICJ is singular within the international judicial system. UN member-states have committed to undertake to comply with the decisions of the Court, and the UN Security Council is authorized to assist the Court by enforcing its decisions. An important additional procedural step took place in 1993, when the Court established a special seven-member standing Chamber for Environmental Matters to play a more proactive role in environmental disputes. However, because the members of the Chamber are not required to hold any particular expertise on environmental matters, it is doubtful whether the establishment of the Chamber will contribute as essentially as expected to the development of innovative and meaningful environmental jurisprudence. The Chamber has yet to hear case. In its decisions, ICJ has reaffirmed principles of international environmental law, such as Principle 21 of the Stockholm Declaration and Principle 2 of the Rio Declaration. However, the judgments have heen criticized by academia and civil society as conservative and environmentally insensitive. The Court did not adopt progressive legal interpretations that might have led to important developments of the body of international environmental law and regulation of critical environmental issues. The ICJ has also been criticized for its minimalist approach to decision-making; several notable cases have been dismissed on procedural grounds. In these cases, the dissenting opinion found the majority to be too reductionist and posititivist in its legal method and concluded that the ICJ had the duty to undertake a more proactive and flexible approach, in order to make a contribution to some of the seminal principles of the evolving corpus of international environmental law.

Dispute settlement is identified as a principle function of the World Trade Organization (WTO).The WTO dispute settlement process begins with consultations and proceeds with GATT conciliation or mediation services. A parry may request that the dispute be heard by a panel, which receives submissions from all interested parties and issues a report. The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) adopts the panel’s report unless there is joint opposition to such adoption. Any of the parties to the dispute may appeal the panel’s decision to the Appellate Body, a standing body of seven members. Parties are required to implement the panel ruling within a “reasonable period of time.” If ruling is not implemented, the injured party may be compensated and retaliatory measures may be undertaken.

Several steps were undertaken during the Uruguay Round to improve the effectiveness of the dispute settlement process. Finally, the WTO panels are not required to take into consideration international law regimes such as international environmental agreements and the customary international law. WTO agreements have created a seif-contained and self-referential” regime. Despite efforts to achieve consistency between existing multilateral environmental agreements and the trade regime, these two have not been adequately integrated.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) plays an essential and meaningful role within the European Community (EC). National courts and governments tend to respect its decisions. While it is not a specialized environmental court, ECJ is authorized to hear environmental cases on grounds of non-compliance of a Member State with the European Community’s environmental laws. ECJ also is authorized to render preliminary rulings on the interpretation of primary or secondary European Law, including environmental law. ECJ structure does not provide for a specialized chamber on environmental issues. The ECJ has contributed to the protection of the natural environment in the European region. It has accepted more than 150 environmental cases and has rendered important environmental jurisprudence. It was the first Court to acknowledge many principles of international environmental law such as the precautionary principle. As national courts have funneled preliminary questions to the ECJ, it has succeeded in clarifying environmental rules and has influenced both the harmonization of the application of EC environmental law and the development of national environmental law. In addition, ECJ, as a multi-issue court, has been able to evaluate and balance environmental protection in conjunction with other public interests such as economic development.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), established under the auspices of the Council of Europe in 1950, is entrusted with monitoring state-party compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Rome Convention). ECHR has developed progressive interpretations of legal documents for the protection of human rights and is a very successful example of a regional judicial body. It has attributed compensation to individuals suffering from environmental harm or noise pollution through application of Article 8 (protection of private life and family life.) However, similar “environmental” decisions have not been forthcoming. The Court stated in the recent case that it is unable to provide comprehensive environmental protection due to the limits of the Convention and its additional Protocols.

These weaknesses demonstrate the inability of most existing judicial bodies to effectively address major international environmental issues. Most of the courts were established in order to serve a specific treaty or international organization, and they are limited in their subject matter jurisdiction. The courts are obliged to deal with environmental issues only in relation to other fields of international law or while seeking to serve different purposes, such as the promotion of free trade or the protection of human rights.

Exactly because these bodies are not structured to judge environmental cases, their staffs lack the expertise to do so. Non-specialized international judges often are unable to apply the complex, vague and incomplete norms of international environmental law. ICJ itself, in the Gabcikovo- Nagymaros Project case admitted that the application of the international environmental law is not an easy task.In that case, the ICJ judges had to be educated in the environmental and scientific aspects of the dispute before they judged the case.

Finally, in most cases, international tribunals seem to follow a “minimalist” view, through which they focus on the specific settlement of disputes between the parties and devote only minimal attention to the broader policy implications of their judgments for the development of law. Scholars have noted this approach in many of the ICJ decisions.This “minimalist” perspective limits the broader consideration of environmental issues associated with specific disputes.

The development of a system that connects international courts will be required to distribute cases among the ICE and other international judicial bodies. Provisions establishing closer cooperation between the courts would be useful.

National courts are not adequate to fully deal with environmental cases arising at the international level or, in some cases, even at the national icvd. Many environmental issues are transboundary in nature and require international institutions to manage them. In She process of globalization of the contemporary sociely, more and moi’e transactions] activities affect adversely the natural environment. Current international judicial bodies function regimes whose purposes and values are not always aligned with that of environmental protection, Some of these bodies were established in an environmentally innocent era, when the prolecilon of Use environment was not elevated as a fundamental societal value at the International. Their procedural rules do not accommodate needs of environmental victims. The mlernatior courts function within the nascent frameworks of international law and often lack compulsory junsilictiorj and enforcement mechanisms. In response to these weaknesses, there is a public demand for the solution of environmental crises and “recent case-law indicates a growing willingness of States and other actors to have recourse to international mechanisms to resolve disputes relating to natural resources and the environment. Although many proposals have been presented existing bodies, none of this is sufficient on its own. An international environmental court  necessary. The academic community and the framevs of the court should study carefully uk examples of current international.


The Palestinian leadership “maintained” that the synagogues were “symbols of Israeli occupation.” Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the time, said the Palestinian Authority had a “moral responsibility to protect the synagogues as places with religious significance. Some believe that settlements need not necessarily be dismantled and evacuated, even if Israel withdraws from the territory where they stand, as they can remain under Palestinian rule. These ideas have been expressed both by left-wing Israelis, and by Palestinians who advocate the two-state solution, and by extreme Israeli right-wingers and settlers’ who object to any dismantling and claim links to the land than are stronger than the political boundaries of the state of Israel. The Israeli government has oftern threatened to dismantle so-called outposts. Some have actually been dismantled, occasionally with use of force; this led to settler violence.

International Court of Justice

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