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Topics: United Nations, International Court of Justice, Law Pages: 34 (11714 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1953412 THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL
The International Court of Justice
Accepted Paper
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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1953412 Chapter One
The International Court of Justice
Sean D. Murphy
A. Overview
The International Court of Justice ("ICJ" or "Court") is a highly respected and authoritative judicial tribunal, lying at the center of the U . N . system, with an influence that extends well beyond the legal relations of the Parties that appear before it.' At the same time, important constraints on its jurisdiction preclude the Court f r om resolving most disputes between States.^ 1. Essential Information

The core instruments creating the ICJ are the U . N . Charter (especially Article 7(1) and Chapter X I V ) ' and the ICJ Statute." The U . N . Charter provides that the ICJ shall be the "principal judicial organ" of the United Nations and that all U N Member States are ipso facto parties to the ICJ Statute.' As such, all 192 Member States of the United Nations are Members of the ICJ Statute and thus capable of appearing before the Court in either contentious ' See generally Mohamed Sameh M. Amr, The Role of ttie International Court of Justice As the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations {The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 2003). ^ For information relating to the work of the International Court of Justice, see Yearboolc of the International Court of Justice (1947-); International Court of Justice, http://www.icj-cij .org (last visited Feb. 27, 2011).

' Charter of the United Nations, June 26, 1945, Arts. 7(1), 92-96, 59 Stat. 1031 (hereinafter: U.N. Charter).
» Statute of the International Court of Justice, June 26, 1945, 59 Stat. 1055, 33 U.N.T.S. 933 (hereinafter: ICJ Statute). For commentary, see Andreas Zimmermann, Christian Tomuschat & Karin Oellers-Frahm eds.. The Statute of the International Court of Justice: A Commentary (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

' U.N. Charter Arts. 92, 93(1).
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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1953412 12 Sean D. Murphy
cases or advisory proceedings. States that are not U . N . members (such as Switzerland until 2002) are able to adhere to the Court's Statute if they so choose.' Yet the ICJ Statute allows only States to participate in contentious cases/ thus precluding contentious cases brought by or against international organizations, non-governmental organizations, transnational corporations, or individuals.

The ICJ Statute is based on the Statute of its predecessor, the Permanent Court of International Justice ("PCIJ"),' which was formed i n the aftermath of World War I in conjunction with the League of Nations ("the League"). Whereas the "political" League was based in Geneva, the "judicial" PCIJ was placed at a distance in the historically neutral country of the Netherlands, taking up residence in The Hague at the Peace Palace alongside the Permanent Court of Arbitration.' Principally operating f r om 1922 to 1939, the PCIJ issued some twenty-seven advisory opinions and thirty-two judgments on a variety of matters, many concerning disputes arising under the post-World War I peace treaties and boundary disputes.'"

Important defects in the PCIJ, however, were corrected with the ICJ. For example, membership in the League did not automatically entail membership in the Statute of the PCIJ, which was a disconnect that was thought to have weakened the PCIJ. At the same time, considerable continuity was maintained between the two institutions. In addition to remaining in The Hague, the ICJ operates under a...
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