The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Also known as the “World Court”, it is the only court of universal character with general jurisdiction. It is composed of 15 independent judges of different nationalities elected for a nine-year term by the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
The ICJ was established by the UN Charter in June 1945 and began its activities in April 1946. The Court has a twofold role: first, to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes between States and, second, to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized UN organs and agencies of the system. It plays a key role in maintaining international peace and security.
Proceedings before the ICJ include a written phase, in which the parties file and exchange pleadings, and an oral phase consisting of public hearings. After the oral proceedings the Court deliberates in camera and then delivers its judgment at a public sitting. Judgments of the Court in contentious cases are binding upon the parties concerned, final and without appeal.
Since 1946 the Court has delivered 126 judgments on disputes concerning such issues as land and maritime delimitation, environmental damage and conservation of living resources, the non-use of force, non‑interference in the internal affairs of States, violation of international humanitarian law and human rights, economic rights.
The Court’s advisory procedure is modelled on that for contentious proceedings. In principle the Court’s advisory opinions are consultative in character and are therefore not binding as such on the requesting bodies. Although not binding, advisory opinions of the ICJ carry a lot of legal weight and great moral authority.
Since 1946 the Court has given 27 Advisory Opinions, concerning such issues as the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons, legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, accordance with international law of the unilateral declaration of independence in respect of Kosovo.
Opening times: 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: Great Hall of Justice
- Introductory film – ENG and NL all afternoon, ENG and FR at 4:00 p.m.
- Short Q&A session (ENG and FR)
A visit to the ICJ is only available in combination with a presentation of the PCA. Total duration of the presentations is one hour.
No cameras, cell phones and bags allowed inside the Peace Palace. Lockers available.
The programme contains no guided tour of the building. Before and after visiting the ICJ and the PCA, you will have the opportunity to visit the Visitors Centre located by the main entrance of the Peace Palace, where you will find information about the Peace Palace and guided tours. Tickets for guided tours can be bought: www.vredespaleis.nl
2517 KJ The Hague