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International Court of Justice

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Also known as the World Court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has two roles, as the judicial body of the United Nations:

  • settling, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (Contentious Cases)
  • giving advisory opinions (Advisory Proceedings) on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies

As opposed to the International Criminal Court and various war crimes tribunals, it has no authority over individuals and hears only matters related to Contentious Cases and Advisory Proceedings. Located in The Hague, it was created in 1945 and began operations in 1947. It had antecedents in the Hague Tribunal associated with the Versailles Peace Conference, and the Permanent Court of International Justice of the League of Nations.

It has no powers of enforcement. All actions to enforce its decisions are chosen and carried out by sovereign states.