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Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York. The official languages of the Court are French and English. It cannot try individuals and cannot receive cases from individuals, groups or organizations. The Court is, moreover, not a supreme court for national tribunals nor an appeal court for the citizens of the world, as people sometimes assume. Only a majority in both of these organs will guarantee that a judge be elected. The Members of the Court do not represent their governments once elected, but are independent magistrates who make a solemn declaration to exercise their powers impartially and conscientiously.

All States parties to the Statute of the Court have the right to propose candidates. These proposals are made not by the government of the State concerned, but by a group consisting of the members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration designated by that State, i.


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Each group can put forward up to four candidates, of whom not more than two may be of its own nationality, whilst the others may be from any other country. The Court may not include more than one national of the same State. In addition to which, the Court as a whole must reflect the main types of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.

This principle is reflected in the distribution of membership of the Court among the principal regions of the world. Although there is no entitlement to membership on the part of any country, the Court has always included judges of the nationality of the permanent members of the Security Council. The current composition of the Court is as follows.

Judges come from very different professional backgrounds and have varying expertise.

International Courts and the Development of International Law - Essays in Honour of Tullio Treves

Some are professors, others national judges, former diplomats or former legal advisers to their national governments. This mix of professional experience is enriching for the Court in its decisions making processes. In situations where the Court does not include a judge possessing the nationality of a State party to a case, that State may appoint a person to sit as a judge ad hoc for the purpose of the case.

Judges ad hoc sit on terms of complete equality with elected judges for those particular proceedings. Once elected, judges ad hoc take the same oath as the Members of the Court. The Court has its own secretariat, the Registry, which is headed by the Registrar, Mr. Philippe Couvreur from Belgium.

International Court of Justice - Research Guide International Law | Peace Palace Library

Registrars may be re-elected; Mr. Couvreur is currently serving his second term of office. The Registrar carries out diverse duties, set out in Article 26 of the Rules of Court, with the assistance of some staff members. He is responsible for all departments and divisions of the Registry.

71 The International Court of Justice as an institution

His role is threefold: judicial, diplomatic and administrative. In contentious cases, only States may apply to and appear before the Court. The Member States of the United Nations are so entitled. The Court has no jurisdiction to deal with applications from individuals, from non-governmental organizations or private groups and it rules only on the rights and obligations of States.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Do decisions by different courts lead to the consequence of a fragmented international law? This volume provides the reader with an elaboration of various questions linked to the legislative role of courts. In their choices of subjects, some contributors have taken into account the general aspects of the development of international rules through court decisions or specific sectors of international law, such as human rights, international crimes, international economic law, environmental law and the law of the sea.

Others have chosen the subject of the rules on jurisdiction and procedure of international courts. Publisher: T. Germany emphatically promotes and supports this candidacy.

Essays in Honour of Tullio Treves

He has the broad based experience needed for duties at the ICJ, is outstandingly well qualified and is highly regarded internationally. Germany is convinced that Professor Georg Nolte can make a tremendous contribution to the work of the Court. The demands on the International Court of Justice are rising.

Table of contents

Its caseload is heavy, and its cases are often complex, both factually and legally. At the same time, the expectations and aspirations of States are growing as well.


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The Court must do its best to ensure that its decisions are acceptable to the parties and that these decisions contribute to the development of international law more generally.