People are asking to explain the difference between the WCJ and ICJ. The comparison between the two courts is given in the table below:
|The World Court of Justice and the International Court of Justice Compared|
|Name||The Word Court of Justice||The International Court of Justice|
|Affiliation||Independent||The United Nations|
|Location||The Internet||The Peace Palace, The Hague (Netherlands)|
|Start of Operation||2001||1946|
|Functions of the Court||(1) resolution of disputes by use of automated adversarial procedure and (2) clarification of issues in international disputes.||(1) settlement in accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by States, and (2) to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.|
|Composition||The court is an impersonal institution, and its decisions are based solely on the formal procedure defined by its rules. For that reason the decisions of the court do not depend on any person or group of persons or any personal views, wishes or opinions. Any human intervention is restricted solely to insuring that the procedure is followed correctly.|
All the court decisions are given in the name of the court.
There are no judges and no juries in the World Court of Justice, but any person in the world, whether he is a party to the case or not can challenge the court's decision by filing with the court Objections to the Draft Judgement.
|The Court is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council sitting independently of each other. It may not include more than one judge of any nationality. Elections are held every three years for one-third of the seats, and retiring judges may be re-elected. The Members of the Court do not represent their governments but are independent magistrates.|
The judges must possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or be jurists of recognized competence in international law. The composition of the Court has also to reflect the main forms of civilization and the principal legal systems of the world.
|The Parties||Established national governments, individuals, and groups of individuals in cases involving at least one established national government.||Only States may apply to and appear before the Court. The Member States of the United Nations are so entitled.|
The jurisdiction of the World Court of Justice is
The jurisdiction of the World Court of Justice is purely declarative. The court has no powers to enforce its judgments, and the value of its judgements is moral and consultative.
The Court is competent to entertain a dispute only if the States concerned have accepted its jurisdiction in one or more of the following ways:
The operation of the Court is based on a strictly formal procedure, which reduces the case to a series of single-valued statements of fact, supported by statements of relevance and items of evidence. The other party is given opportunity to admit, challenge or ignore these statements.
The issues which are not in dispute are eliminated, and the case is reduced to a number of unresolved issues. These issues are considered by the court, again following strict formal procedure.
Then a draft judgement is given, to which any person in the world can object by filing Objections to the Draft Judgement. If objections are filed, the draft judgement is reviewed in the light of these objections and the final judgement is given.
The court has no powers to enforce its judgements. Its decisions are published on the Internet and in print and have 'moral' influence. They set a standard of impartiality and objectivity, which is impossible to achieve in courts where judgements are based on judicial views and opinions, and are inevitably influenced by the prevalent state ideologies and personal views and prejudices of the judges.
The procedure followed by the Court in contentious cases is defined in its Statute, and in the Rules of Court adopted by it under the Statute.
The proceedings include a written phase, in which the parties file and exchange pleadings, and an oral phase consisting of public hearings at which agents and counsel address the Court.
After the oral proceedings the Court deliberates in camera and then delivers its judgment at a public sitting. The judgment is final and without appeal. Should one of the States involved fail to comply with it, the other party may have recourse to the Security Council of the United Nations.
Sources of Law
The Fundamental Principles of Government by Truth Honesty and Justice of the World Court of Justice.
The Court decides in accordance with international treaties and conventions in force, international custom, the general principles of law and, as subsidiary means, judicial decisions and the teachings of the most highly qualified publicists.
|Information Office||The World Court of Justice|
PO Box 10121
Birmingham B27 7YS
|Mr. Arthur Witteveen, First Secretary of the Court (tel: + 31 70 302 2336)|
Mrs. Laurence Blairon and Mr. Boris Heim, Information Officers (tel: + 31 70 302 2337)