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2 Legal Powers, 2.4 Legality of the Use by a State of Nuclear Weapons in Armed Conflict International Court of Justice, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996, [1996] ICJ Rep 66

Gian Luca Burci, Jakob Quirin

From: Judicial Decisions on the Law of International Organizations

Edited By: Cedric Ryngaert, Ige F Dekker, Ramses A Wessel, Jan Wouters

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 08 February 2023

Membership of international organizations — International organizations, practice and procedure — Responsibility of international organizations — International courts and tribunals, powers

The International Court of Justice advisory opinion of 8 July 1996 that responded to a request from the World Health Organization contains important guidance on the delimitation of competence and co-ordination of international organizations, in particular those forming part of the UN system. The Court held by eleven votes to three that it did not have jurisdiction to give the advisory opinion ‘which was requested of it’. The opinion marks an important step in the Court’s jurisprudence in that it focusses not on an expansion of competence of international organizations as previous ICJ jurisprudence, but rather on the limits of this competence. The opinion is a succinct reminder of the tension between the goal to effectively and efficiently ‘divide labour’ between the mandates of the UN and the specialized agencies and the relative lack of mechanisms to enforce this division of labour.

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