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International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The International Court of Justice, based in The Hague, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

The ICJ was established by the Charter of the United Nations, which provides that all member states of the United Nations are ipso facto parties to the court’s Statute.

The Statute of the International Court of Justice is annexed to the Charter, of which it forms an integral part. Together with the Rules of Court, the Statute organises the composition and functioning of the court. Since October 2001, the court has also issued Practice Directions for use by states appearing before it.

The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies.

The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.

(Source: ICJ website.)

NB. The International Court of Justice based in The Hague is not to be confused with the International Criminal Court (also based in The Hague).