Posted: Monday, November 26, 2018. 7:45 am CST.
By BBN Staff: The principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) settles legal disputes between member states and gives advisory opinions to authorized UN organs and specialized agencies.
Here are 10 interesting facts that Belizeans need to know about the ICJ:
1. The ICJ is the main judicial tribunal of the United Nations.
2. The ICJ was established in 1946 by the UN to arbitrate disputes between countries.
3. The ICJ is located at the Peace Palace at The Hague, Netherlands.
4. There are 15 judges at the ICJ who are elected for renewable 9-year terms.
5. Jurisdiction of the ICJ: Jurisdiction in a contentious case depends upon the consent of the disputing countries. This means that countries are not required to submit disputes to the court. But those that do may also agree to compulsory arbitration on matters relating to (1) interpretation of treaties; (2) questions of international law; (3) breaches of international obligations; (4) the nature and extent of reparations to be made for such breaches.
6. Enforcement of rulings: The decision made at the ICJ enforces a legal obligation on countries to abide by the rulings. If in any case, a country does not abide, the matter can be taken to the UN’s Security Council.
7. To commence the process at the ICJ, countries need to submit an application to the court’s registrar for review.
8. Under the UN charter, nations are not automatically obliged to submit their legal disputes for judgment. For countries wishing to settle a dispute, both governments must agree. ( In Belize’s case, applications may be submitted after a National referendum is held on April 10, 2019, if Belizeans vote Yes to the ICJ).
9. When adjudicating cases, the ICJ applies only International law, not domestic law. This means that the court shall apply international conventions, international custom and the general principles of international law.
10. Besides the 15 judges, countries may be allowed to appoint an ad-hoc judge.
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