Statute of the International Court of Justice, 18th April 1946 (33 UNTS 993, UKTS 67 (1946) Cmd 7015, 3 Bevans 1179, 59 Stat 1055, 145 BSP 832, TS No 993), OXIO 95
International Court of Justice [ICJ]
- International courts and tribunals, jurisdiction — International courts and tribunals, powers — Subsidiary organs of international organizations — UN Charter
1. The interrelationship between the International Court of Justice and the United Nations.
This headnote pertains to: Statute of the International Court of Justice, an instrument the text of which has been prepared by and/or adopted in the framework of an international organization.Jump to full text
The Statute of the International Court of Justice (‘ICJ Statute’) forms an integral part of and is annexed to the Charter of the United Nations (‘UN Charter’). Its relevance to the law of international organizations is evident. It regulates the manner in which the International Court of Justice (ICJ or ‘Court’) is constituted and functions, including its competence. It is thus part of the framework that controls the relationship between different United Nations (UN) organs, as well as Member States. Member States of the UN are ipso facto State Parties to the ICJ Statute (Article 93 UN Charter). As membership of the UN has grown—there are currently 193 Member States—, so has the membership of the Court.
During the latter stages of the Second World War, much attention was devoted to the shape of the post-war legal order. This included discussions about the place of an international court in that order; whether or not to maintain the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ) or establish a new court; and, if the latter, whether the new court’s statute should be based on that of the PCIJ. The Dumbarton Oaks Proposals (‘Proposals’) (Proposals for the Establishment of a General International Organization) of October 1944 included a proposal that an international court be established as the principal judicial organ of a new organization. The Proposals ‘accepted the principle of a close organic connection between the new court and the new organization’ (Rosenne, para 4). This was in contrast to the PCIJ’s formal independence of the League of Nations.
In April 1945, a committee of jurists representing forty-four states met to draw up a draft of the statute of a new court, for submission to the San Francisco conference (where the UN Charter was to be drafted). It was at this conference that the final decision to disband the PCIJ was taken. Amongst other issues, states had expressed concerns about the independence of the PCIJ following decisions such as those in Status of Eastern Carelia and the Austro-German Customs Union Case. However, a strong element of continuity was to be maintained and the statute of the new court of justice would be based on that of the PCIJ.
The ICJ Statute thus expressly provides for continuity of jurisdiction. Article 36 of the ICJ Statute provides that optional declarations accepting PCIJ jurisdiction would be deemed to be ‘acceptances of the compulsory jurisdiction of the [ICJ] … in accordance with their terms’. Article 37 provides ‘[w]henever a treaty or convention in force provides for reference of a matter to a tribunal to have been instituted by the League of Nations, or to the [PCIJ], the matter shall, as between the parties to the present ICJ Statute, be referred to the [ICJ]’. This continuity is also evident in the jurisprudence of the ICJ. For example, the PCIJ’s jurisprudence on the existence of a dispute, such as in Certain German Interests in Polish Upper Silesia (page 14), has been frequently referred to by the ICJ, including, inter alia, in Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (‘Military and Paramilitary Activities’) (para 83), and in Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament judgments (para 37). Further, the PCIJ’s famous refrain on reparation in the Factory at Chorzow (page 47), has been referred to in, for example, Gabčikovo-Nagymaros Project (para 149) and Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo (para 259).
The PCIJ met for the last time in October 1946, and the judges resigned in January 1946. The first members of the ICJ were appointed in February 1946, at the first meeting of the UN General Assembly and Security Council.
The result of the work of the bodies and conferences that considered the place of a court in the structure of the UN is found in the following provisions of the UN Charter: (i) Article 7(1) (principal organs); (ii) Article 36(3) on the pacific settlement of disputes; (iii) Articles 92–96 (on the ICJ); as well as (iv) the ICJ Statute, which is annexed to the UN Charter.
The ICJ is empowered to issue, under specific conditions: (i) decisions in contentious proceedings between states; and (ii) advisory opinions, when requested by UN organs or specialized agencies. The ICJ Statute sets out the provisions regulating these proceedings, divided as follows: (i) the organization of the Court; (ii) the competence of the Court; (iii) procedure; (iv) advisory opinions; and finally, (v) provisions on amendment of the ICJ Statute. [Arts 2–70]
The ICJ Statute may be amended on the same terms as the UN Charter, ie on a vote of, and following ratification by, two-thirds of the members of the General Assembly, including all the permanent members of the Security Council (Article 108 UN Charter). [Art 69] To date, the ICJ Statute has not been amended.
It is not possible to address all of the different sections of the ICJ Statute in this headnote. We therefore focus on the relationship of the Court with the UN, and specifically the institutional relationship set up by the UN Charter.
Chapter XIX of the UN Charter addresses the position of the Court, stating that the ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN. The Court is thus placed on an equal footing with the other organs mentioned in the UN Charter, such as the Security Council and the General Assembly. Equality does not mean equivalence. The Court is not political in character, and it is independent—eg the judges specifically do not represent their states, unlike representatives of most other organs, but operate independently. [Art 2]
The ICJ has an inherent and essential role to play in working towards the vision that underlay the creation of the UN, including the maintenance of international peace and security, international cooperation, and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms on a non-discriminatory basis (Article 1 UN Charter).
Chapter VI of the UN Charter mandates the peaceful settlement of disputes ‘the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security’. It obliges parties to seek a solution by peaceful means, including ‘negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, [and] judicial settlement’, and notes that the Security Council may ‘call upon’ parties to pursue these means of settlement. In so doing, it ‘should also take into consideration that legal disputes, as a general rule, be referred by the parties to the [ICJ]’. However, the Court does not have a monopoly, or a ‘special place in the general structure of the machinery’ (Rosenne, para 11) for the maintenance of peace and security. Article 95 of the UN Charter, for example, specifically preserves the validity of any agreement to submit a dispute to a different tribunal. With this caveat, it is clear that the exercise of the Court’s judicial functions is envisaged as one of the pillars of the post-Second World War architecture for the maintenance of peace and security.
The Court itself confirmed the role that it has to play in achieving the goals of the UN. ‘It is for the Court, the principal judicial organ of the [UN], to resolve any legal questions that may be in issue between parties to the dispute; and the resolution of such legal questions by the Court may be an important, and sometimes decisive, factor in promoting the peaceful settlement of the dispute. This is indeed recognized by Article 36 of the UN Charter, paragraph 3’ (Military and Paramilitary Activities, para 93, citing United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, para 40). The Court further noted that, while the Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, it is not exclusive. ‘The UN Charter accordingly does not confer exclusive responsibility upon the Security Council for the purpose [of the maintenance of peace and security] ... The [Security] Council has functions of a political nature assigned to it, whereas the Court exercises purely judicial functions. Both organs can therefore perform their separate but complementary functions with respect to the same events’ (Military and Paramilitary Activities, paras 93 and 95).
This should be contrasted with the position of the PCIJ vis-à-vis the League of Nations. States Parties to the Covenant of the League of Nations (‘League Covenant’) expressed a readiness to resort to judicial settlement or arbitration, but the binding nature of their agreement to this effect is still the subject of debate (Zimmerman, 638).
As noted, the UN Charter specifies that each member of the UN is not only a party to the ICJ Statute; it also sets out the corollary obligation, that each member ‘undertakes to comply with the decision of the International Court of Justice in any case to which it is a party’ (Article 94(1) UN Charter). [Art 59] By creating a standing obligation to comply in this way, the UN Charter confirms that there is no appeal from a judgment of the Court, and upholds the force and value of a judgment of the Court. In light of their authoritative nature, most judgments are complied with. In addition, the ICJ Statute forms part of the UN Charter and is therefore covered by the supremacy clause of Article 103 of the UN Charter. Article 103 prescribes that, in the case of conflict, an obligation of Member States under the UN Charter prevail over obligations under other international agreements. A clash of legal obligations will not excuse a state from complying with a judgment—with limited exception, such as a jus cogens norm, which prevails over conflicting treaty norms (see eg Articles 53 and 64 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties).
Article 94(2) of the UN Charter also details the closest equivalent to an enforcement mechanism for a Court judgment: the possibility for one party to a decision to refer a situation to the Security Council should the other party fail to comply with its obligations pursuant to a judgment. The Security Council may make recommendations or ‘decide upon measures to be taken to give effect to the judgment’. This provision was triggered by Nicaragua following the refusal of the US to accept the Court’s judgment in the Military and Paramilitary Activities case. Nicaragua referred the situation to the Security Council, but the US vetoed a resolution calling for full compliance with the judgment.
An important part of the ICJ’s relationship with the UN Charter is the authority granted to the ICJ to issue advisory opinions. This power mirrors that granted to the PCIJ (Statute of the PCIJ (as amended in 1936)), except that a wider range of bodies may request such an opinion. Article 96 of the UN Charter provides that the General Assembly or Security Council may request an advisory opinion on ‘any legal question’; further, that other organs of the UN and specialized agencies may be authorized by the General Assembly to request an opinion on ‘legal questions arising within the scope of their activities’. Article 65(1) of the ICJ Statute provides the parallel provision: the Court may—the power is discretionary—give an advisory opinion on any legal question, at the request of a body that is authorized to so by the UN Charter. The Court has noted that the rendering of advisory opinions requested by UN organs ‘represents its participation in the activities of the [UN] and, in principle, should not be refused’ (eg Western Sahara, para 23). ‘By lending its assistance in the solution of a problem confronting the General Assembly, the Court would discharge its functions as the principal judicial organ of the [UN]’ (eg Western Sahara, para 23). While the ICJ has previously found that it does not have jurisdiction to issue an advisory opinion, it has not exercised its discretion to refuse to do so (Kolb 273).
The UN Charter contains no standing provision addressing its interpretation. This was the course advised by a Subcommittee Report on the interpretation of the UN Charter at the San Francisco Conference. However, the report did envisage that the ICJ would be empowered to interpret the UN Charter, where specific questions fell within its contentious or advisory jurisdiction (Martenczuk 526).
UN General Assembly Resolution 171 (II) on the need for greater use by the United Nations and its organs of the International Court of Justice (‘Resolution 171(II)’) considered that it was ‘of paramount importance that the Court should be utilized to the greatest practicable extent in the progressive development of international law’ and recommended that UN organs and specialized agencies refer ‘difficult and important points of law within the jurisdiction of the [ICJ] which have arisen in the course of their activities and involve questions of principle which it is desirable to have settled, including points of law relating to the interpretation of the [UN Charter] or the constitutions of the specialized agencies’, if duly authorized to request the ICJ for an advisory opinion.
The Court has accepted that it may interpret the UN Charter. For example, in Certain Expenses of the United Nations, the Court considered whether the exercise of powers under the UN Charter was ultra vires—see also Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie (‘Lockerbie’) in Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United States; and Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United Kingdom. In his dissenting opinion to the Court’s order in respect of Libya’s request for provisional measures in Lockerbie, Judge Weeramantry stated: ‘the court acts as guardian of the Charter and of international law for in the international arena, there is no higher body charged with judicial functions and with the determination of questions of interpretation and application of international law’ (Lockerbie, Order, provisional measures, dissenting opinion of Judge Weeramantry, 691).
The Court’s position in Lockerbie proved contentious amongst its own members and the wider international community. The Court does not have a standing judicial review function vis-à-vis other organs, as many national courts would do vis-à-vis the ‘executive’ or ‘legislature’. Yet, in contrast with the position of its predecessor vis-à-vis the League Covenant, the ICJ does have the power to interpret its Statute where this comes within its jurisdiction—and thus its judicial functions. In this way, the ICJ can bring clarity to the meaning and application of the UN Charter, although its impact is limited since it may only respond to disputes or questions referred to it.
However, it is clear that the UN Charter envisages that the Court will act as a UN organ, equal with others, exercising its own particular judicial functions and its influence to contribute to the UN Charter’s objectives. By virtue of its position under the UN Charter, ‘[t]here is today no other judicial organ in the world which has the same capacity to examine legal questions concerning the international community as a whole, and which offers [s]tates so wide a range of opportunities for promoting the rule of law’ (ICJ Handbook 95).
The Court was to be an integral part of the UN machinery and the UN Charter’s vision for the maintenance of peace and security. As the Court itself noted, ‘the resolution of … legal questions by the Court may be an important, and sometimes decisive, factor in promoting the peaceful settlement of the dispute [s]tates’ (Military and Paramilitary Activities, para 93, citing United States Diplomatic and Consular Staff in Tehran, para 40). States may choose any peaceful means for resolving their disputes, but as soon as they are members of the UN they are automatically and without option parties to the ICJ Statute (see also Resolution 171(II), para 3).
However, while states have chosen to have recourse to the Court, and the General Assembly has requested advisory opinions on contentious issues (for example, the advisory opinion in Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory), the potential of the ICJ as envisaged by the UN Charter has not been fully exploited. The Court now has a full docket, but historically this has been a far from consistent pattern. The average number of cases submitted each year averaged two to three during the 1950s, and fell to none or one in the 1960s. From July 1962 to January 1967, and from February 1967 until August 1971, no new case was submitted to the Court (ICJ Handbook 18). In the early 1970s, the General Assembly adopted a proposal to study the Court’s role and issued a resolution calling upon states ‘to keep under review the possibility of identifying cases in which use [could] be made of the [ICJ]’ (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3232 (XXIX) on the review of the role of the International Court of Justice).
In December 2016, the Security Council issued a research report entitled ‘The Rule of Law: Can the Security Council make better use of the International Court of Justice?’ (‘Rule of Law Report’), in which it noted the ‘symbiotic relationship’ that the UN Charter envisaged between the Security Council and the Court, and that the Court was one of the ‘tools’ available to the Security Council in its work for the maintenance of peace and security. Yet that ‘the [Security] Council has rarely taken advantage of this potential relationship or played a role in addressing non-compliance’ (Rule of Law Report, page 2). The Rule of Law Report’s recommendations included strengthening this relationship, and the Security Council making greater use of its authority to ‘recommend’ use of the Court by states to request advisory opinions, as well as to oblige recourse to the Court under Chapter VII of the UN Charter resolutions (Rule of Law Report, pages 10 and 13). The coming years may well paint a picture of an increasingly intertwined relationship.
Further analysis of Relevant Materials
International Court of Justice
Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament, Marshall Islands v United Kingdom, Preliminary objections, 5 October 2016, ICJ GL No 158; ICGJ 502 (ICJ 2016)
Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United States, Preliminary objections, 27 February 1998, ICJ GL No 89;  ICJ Rep 115; ICGJ 78 (ICJ 1998); (1998) 37 ILM 587
Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United Kingdom, Judgment, preliminary objections, 27 February 1998, ICJ GL No 88;  ICJ Rep 9; ICGJ 76 (ICJ 1998)
Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United States, Order, provisional measures, 14 April 1992, ICJ GL No 89;  ICJ Rep 114; ICGJ 77 (ICJ 1992)
Questions of Interpretation and Application of the 1971 Montreal Convention arising from the Aerial Incident at Lockerbie, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya v United Kingdom, Order, request for the indication of provisional measures, 14 April 1992, ICJ GL No 88;  ICJ Rep 3; ICGJ 75 (ICJ 1992)
Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua, Nicaragua v United States, Judgment on jurisdiction and admissibility, 26 November 1984, ICJ GL No 70;  ICJ Rep 392; ICGJ 111 (ICJ 1984)
Permanent Court of International Justice (historical)
International Court of Justice
League of Nations (historical)
Permanent Court of International Justice (historical)
United Nations General Assembly
United Nations Security Council
Security Council Report: The Rule of Law: Can the Security Council make better use of the International Court of Justice? (20 December 2016) [http://www.securitycouncilreport.org/atf/cf/%7B65BFCF9B-6D27-4E9C-8CD3-CF6E4FF96FF9%7D/research_report_5_rule_of_law_2016.pdf13]
International Court of Justice
‘History’ (accessed February 2017) [http://www.icj-cij.org/en/history]
Chapter I Organization of the Court
The Court shall be composed of a body of independent judges, elected regardless of their nationality from among persons of high moral character, who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or are jurisconsults of recognized competence in international law.
1. The members of the Court shall be elected by the General Assembly and by the Security Council from a list of persons nominated by the national groups in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, in accordance with the following provisions.
2. In the case of Members of the United Nations not represented in the Permanent Court of Arbitration, candidates shall be nominated by national groups appointed for this purpose by their governments under the same conditions as those prescribed for members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration by Article 44 of the Convention of The Hague of 1907 for the pacific settlement of international disputes.
3. The conditions under which a state which is a party to the present Statute but is not a Member of the United Nations may participate in electing the members of the Court shall, in the absence of a special agreement, be laid down by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Security Council.
1. At least three months before the date of the election, the Secretary–General of the United Nations shall address a written request to the members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration belonging to the states which are parties to the present Statute, and to the members of the national groups appointed under Article 4, paragraph 2, inviting them to undertake, within a given time, by national groups, the nomination of persons in a position to accept the duties of a member of the Court.
1. The Secretary–General shall prepare a list in alphabetical order of all the persons thus nominated. Save as provided in Article 12, paragraph 2, these shall be the only persons eligible.
At every election, the electors shall bear in mind not only that the persons to be elected should individually possess the qualifications required, but also that in the body as a whole the representation of the main forms of civilization and of the principal legal systems of the world should be assured.
1. Those candidates who obtain an absolute majority of votes in the General Assembly and in the Security Council shall be considered as elected.
2. Any vote of the Security Council, whether for the election of judges or for the appointment of members of the conference envisaged in Article 12, shall be taken without any distinction between permanent and non–permanent members of the Security Council.
1. If, after the third meeting, one or more seats still remain unfilled, a joint conference consisting of six members, three appointed by the General Assembly and three by the Security Council, may be formed at any time at the request of either the General Assembly or the Security Council, for the purpose of choosing by the vote of an absolute majority one name for each seat still vacant, to submit to the General Assembly and the Security Council for their respective acceptance.
2. If the joint conference is unanimously agreed upon any person who fulfills the required conditions, he may be included in its list, even though he was not included in the list of nominations referred to in Article 7.
3. If the joint conference is satisfied that it will not be successful in procuring an election, those members of the Court who have already been elected shall, within a period to be fixed by the Security Council, proceed to fill the vacant seats by selection from among those candidates who have obtained votes either in the General Assembly or in the Security Council.
1. The members of the Court shall be elected for nine years and may be re–elected; provided, however, that of the judges elected at the first election, the terms of five judges shall expire at the end of three years and the terms of five more judges shall expire at the end of six years.
2. The judges whose terms are to expire at the end of the above–mentioned initial periods of three and six years shall be chosen by lot to be drawn by the Secretary–General immediately after the first election has been completed.
3. The members of the Court shall continue to discharge their duties until their places have been filled. Though replaced, they shall finish any cases which they may have begun.
Vacancies shall be filled by the same method as that laid down for the first election subject to the following provision: the Secretary–General shall, within one month of the occurrence of the vacancy, proceed to issue the invitations provided for in Article 5, and the date of the election shall be fixed by the Security Council.
2. No member may participate in the decision of any case in which he has previously taken part as agent, counsel, or advocate for one of the parties, or as a member of a national or international court, or of a commission of enquiry, or in any other capacity.
1. The Court shall remain permanently in session, except during the judicial vacations, the dates and duration of which shall be fixed by the Court.
2. Members of the Court are entitled to periodic leave, the dates and duration of which shall be fixed by the Court, having in mind the distance between The Hague and the home of each judge.
1. If, for some special reason, a member of the Court considers that he should not take part in the decision of a particular case, he shall so inform the President.
2. If the President considers that for some special reason one of the members of the Court should not sit in a particular case, he shall give him notice accordingly.
2. Subject to the condition that the number of judges available to constitute the Court is not thereby reduced below eleven, the Rules of the Court may provide for allowing one or more judges, according to circumstances and in rotation, to be dispensed from sitting.
1. The Court may from time to time form one or more chambers, composed of three or more judges as the Court may determine, for dealing with particular categories of cases; for example, labour cases and cases relating to transit and communications.
2. The Court may at any time form a chamber for dealing with a particular case. The number of judges to constitute such a chamber shall be determined by the Court with the approval of the parties.
With a view to the speedy dispatch of business, the Court shall form annually a chamber composed of five judges which, at the request of the parties, may hear and determine cases by summary procedure. In addition, two judges shall be selected for the purpose of replacing judges who find it impossible to sit.
1. Judges of the nationality of each of the parties shall retain their right to sit in the case before the Court.
2. If the Court includes upon the Bench a judge of the nationality of one of the parties, any other party may choose a person to sit as judge. Such person shall be chosen preferably from among those persons who have been nominated as candidates as provided in Articles 4 and 5.
3. If the Court includes upon the Bench no judge of the nationality of the parties, each of these parties may proceed to choose a judge as provided in paragraph 2 of this Article.
4. The provisions of this Article shall apply to the case of Articles 26 and 29. In such cases, the President shall request one or, if necessary, two of the members of the Court forming the chamber to give place to the members of the Court of the nationality of the parties concerned, and, failing such, or if they are unable to be present, to the judges specially chosen by the parties.
5. Should there be several parties in the same interest, they shall, for the purpose of the preceding provisions, be reckoned as one party only. Any doubt upon this point shall be settled by the decision of the Court.
3. The Vice–President shall receive a special allowance for every day on which he acts as President.
4. The judges chosen under Article 31, other than members of the Court, shall receive compensation for each day on which they exercise their functions.
5. These salaries, allowances, and compensation shall be fixed by the General Assembly. They may not be decreased during the term of office.
7. Regulations made by the General Assembly shall fix the conditions under which retirement pensions may be given to members of the Court and to the Registrar, and the conditions under which members of the Court and the Registrar shall have their travelling expenses refunded.
Chapter II Competence of the Court
2. The Court, subject to and in conformity with its Rules, may request of public international organizations information relevant to cases before it, and shall receive such information presented by such organizations on their own initiative.
3. Whenever the construction of the constituent instrument of a public international organization or of an international convention adopted thereunder is in question in a case before the Court, the Registrar shall so notify the public international organization concerned and shall communicate to it copies of all the written proceedings.
2. The conditions under which the Court shall be open to other states shall, subject to the special provisions contained in treaties in force, be laid down by the Security Council, but in no case shall such conditions place the parties in a position of inequality before the Court.
1. The jurisdiction of the Court comprises all cases which the parties refer to it and all matters specially provided for in the Charter of the United Nations or in treaties and conventions in force.
2. The states parties to the present Statute may at any time declare that they recognize as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other state accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court in all legal disputes concerning:
c. the existence of any fact which, if established, would constitute a breach of an international obligation;
3. The declarations referred to above may be made unconditionally or on condition of reciprocity on the part of several or certain states, or for a certain time.
4. Such declarations shall be deposited with the Secretary–General of the United Nations, who shall transmit copies thereof to the parties to the Statute and to the Registrar of the Court.
5. Declarations made under Article 36 of the Statute of the Permanent Court of International Justice and which are still in force shall be deemed, as between the parties to the present Statute, to be acceptances of the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice for the period which they still have to run and in accordance with their terms.
Whenever a treaty or convention in force provides for reference of a matter to a tribunal to have been instituted by the League of Nations, or to the Permanent Court of International Justice, the matter shall, as between the parties to the present Statute, be referred to the International Court of Justice.
1. The Court, whose function is to decide in accordance with international law such disputes as are submitted to it, shall apply:
a. international conventions, whether general or particular, establishing rules expressly recognized by the contesting states;
d. subject to the provisions of Article 59, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists of the various nations, as subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law.
Chapter III Procedure
1. The official languages of the Court shall be French and English. If the parties agree that the case shall be conducted in French, the judgment shall be delivered in French. If the parties agree that the case shall be conducted in English, the judgment shall be delivered in English.
2. In the absence of an agreement as to which language shall be employed, each party may, in the pleadings, use the language which it prefers; the decision of the Court shall be given in French and English. In this case the Court shall at the same time determine which of the two texts shall be considered as authoritative.
1. Cases are brought before the Court, as the case may be, either by the notification of the special agreement or by a written application addressed to the Registrar. In either case the subject of the dispute and the parties shall be indicated.
1. The Court shall have the power to indicate, if it considers that circumstances so require, any provisional measures which ought to be taken to preserve the respective rights of either party.
2. The written proceedings shall consist of the communication to the Court and to the parties of memorials, counter–memorials and, if necessary, replies; also all papers and documents in support.
3. These communications shall be made through the Registrar, in the order and within the time fixed by the Court.
4. A certified copy of every document produced by one party shall be communicated to the other party.
1. For the service of all notices upon persons other than the agents, counsel, and advocates, the Court shall apply direct to the government of the state upon whose territory the notice has to be served.
During the hearing any relevant questions are to be put to the witnesses and experts under the conditions laid down by the Court in the rules of procedure referred to in Article 30.
1. Whenever one of the parties does not appear before the Court, or fails to defend its case, the other party may call upon the Court to decide in favour of its claim.
1. When, subject to the control of the Court, the agents, counsel, and advocates have completed their presentation of the case, the President shall declare the hearing closed.
1. An application for revision of a judgment may be made only when it is based upon the discovery of some fact of such a nature as to be a decisive factor, which fact was, when the judgment was given, unknown to the Court and also to the party claiming revision, always provided that such ignorance was not due to negligence.
2. The proceedings for revision shall be opened by a judgment of the Court expressly recording the existence of the new fact, recognizing that it has such a character as to lay the case open to revision, and declaring the application admissible on this ground.
3. The Court may require previous compliance with the terms of the judgment before it admits proceedings in revision.
4. The application for revision must be made at latest within six months of the discovery of the new fact.
1. Whenever the construction of a convention to which states other than those concerned in the case are parties is in question, the Registrar shall notify all such states forthwith.
Chapter IV Advisory Opinions
1. The Court may give an advisory opinion on any legal question at the request of whatever body may be authorized by or in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations to make such a request.
1. The Registrar shall forthwith give notice of the request for an advisory opinion to all states entitled to appear before the Court.
2. The Registrar shall also, by means of a special and direct communication, notify any state entitled to appear before the Court or international organization considered by the Court, or, should it not be sitting, by the President, as likely to be able to furnish information on the question, that the Court will be prepared to receive, within a time limit to be fixed by the President, written statements, or to hear, at a public sitting to be held for the purpose, oral statements relating to the question.
3. Should any such state entitled to appear before the Court have failed to receive the special communication referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article, such state may express a desire to submit a written statement or to be heard; and the Court will decide.
4. States and organizations having presented written or oral statements or both shall be permitted to comment on the statements made by other states or organizations in the form, to the extent, and within the time limits which the Court, or, should it not be sitting, the President, shall decide in each particular case. Accordingly, the Registrar shall in due time communicate any such written statements to states and organizations having submitted similar statements.
Chapter V Amendment
Amendments to the present Statute shall be effected by the same procedure as is provided by the Charter of the United Nations for amendments to that Charter, subject however to any provisions which the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Security Council may adopt concerning the participation of states which are parties to the present Statute but are not Members of the United Nations.
The Court shall have power to propose such amendments to the present Statute as it may deem necessary, through written communications to the Secretary–General, for consideration in conformity with the provisions of Article 69.