The International Court of Justice (ICJ)

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

  1. Presentation on the work of the Court
  2. Short Q&A session

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:


Peace Palace
Carnegieplein 2
2517 KJ The Hague


Most organisations have strict security. Because of this, we have added a list of the DO’s and DON’Ts for you. As a visitor, you’ll be required to follow these. You will receive your security passes a week beforehand via e-mail. We ask you to please bring it with you. The security of the organisations can ask you to show your passes. Although the chance is there that registration will be enough and you will not be asked to show your pass. At all times you are required to bring a legal personal ID, like a passport of a ID-Card. Bus-, library, etc. cards are not valid identification. Security checks take time, so please keep this in mind when visiting. We ask for your patience for any eventual waiting times.


  • Bring a valid ID like a passport or ID card
  • Bring a your admission ticket (print or online version)
  • Keep in mind that security checks can take some time.
  • Listen and comply with security.


  • Do not bring large bags.
  • Do not bring prams unless absolutely necessary.
  • Do not bring electronic devices.
  • Photos and video recordings aren’t always permitted.