International Court of Justice

Updated September 9, 2022 | Infoplease Staff

The International Court of Justice is the UN's principal judicial organ. Based in The Hague, Netherlands, the Court pursues two primary objectives: (1) settling legal disputes submitted by states in accordance with international law, and (2) advising on legal questions brought by authorized international organs and agencies. The Court consists of 15 judges elected to 9-year terms by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council during independent sittings.

No more than one judge of any nationality may serve simultaneously, and judges are in all respects required to act as independent magistrates. The Court's jurisdiction and competency in settling disputes is dependent upon a state's acceptance of its jurisdiction thereof.

The Court rules in accordance with international treaties, conventions, international custom, general principles of law, and, when relevant, judicial decision or teachings of the “most highly qualified publicists.”

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