The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court was established in 1945 as successor to the Permanent Court of Justice, PCJ. The PCJ was. on its part established in 1920 by the League of nations, the predecessor of the United nations. The PCJ was disbanded along with the demise of the League of nations in 1946.
The ICJ, which was established pursuant to Article Seven of the United Nations Charter follows very closely in the footsteps of the permanent Court of Justice in the statute as well as in the Rules of the Court.
Generally, the ICJ is generally regarded as the pre-eminent tribunal in the international judicial system. For one, all members of the UN are ipso facto parties to the Court's Statute, which is an integral part of the UN Charter. The ICJ is in fact one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. It is the only judicial forum before which sovereign States, and only States, can bring virtually any legal dispute, no matter whether it arises out of the alleged violation of an international agreement or out of customary international law. No other international judicial forum's jurisdiction is potentially as far-reaching as that of the ICJ. For whereas the ICJ has universal scope and membership, all the others are restricted eitherrationae materiae, personae or loci.  

Secondly, up until the beginning of the 1950s, the ICJ had no rival international tribunal –except maybe the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) established in 1899 (with the limited mandate of providing a stable institutional framework and a roster of experts for ad hoc arbitration or conciliation).

However, since the end of World War II, the evolution of international law into highly specialized and self-contained areas (e.g., international trade law, human rights law, law of the sea, etc.), the coagulation of States into regional organizations, recurrent criticisms of the World Court’s perceived difficulty of access and erratic jurisprudence, a large number of international judicial and quasi-judicial bodies have emerged alongside the ICJ.

Due to the extension and nature of its jurisdiction, the ICJ enjoys an integrated placement within the structure of the United nations and a primacy all international judicial bodies.

Its jurisdiction emanates mostly from its core mandates: 

1.    to settle in accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by States;
2.    to give advisory opinions on legal questions submitted by duly authorized international organs and agencies; and
3.    in certain circumstances, exercise appellate jurisdiction

Nonetheless, the competence of the ICJ to entertain a case is restricted to the acceptance by the States concerned to acquiesce to the ICJ’s jurisdiction over the particular matter. Such an acceptance can take the form of the conclusion of anad hoc agreement to submit the dispute to the Court. Alternatively, it can be inferred from a jurisdictional clause of a treaty between the State disputants which provides, in the event of a disagreement over the interpretation or application of the treaty, that one of them may refer the dispute to the Court).

Finally, the jurisdiction of the ICJ can derive from the reciprocal effect of optional declarations, whereby each disputing State has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court as compulsory in the event of a dispute with another State having made a similar declaration.

The judgment of the ICJ is final and without appeal. Should one of the States involved fail to comply with it, the other party may have recourse to the United Nations Security Council.

The advisory jurisdiction of the ICJ is restricted to UN organs and UN specialized agencies as they, only, can request opinions of the Court. The Court's advisory procedure is modeled on that of contentious proceedings, and the sources of applicable law are the same.

In principle the Court's advisory opinions are consultative in character and are therefore not binding as such on the requesting bodies. Certain instruments or regulations can, however, stipulate in advance that the advisory opinion shall be binding.

The ICJ may also exercise appellate jurisdiction. This may result, for instance, from provisions contained in treaties, such as the Convention of 1944 on International Civil Aviation, which envisages appeals to the ICJ from decisions of the ICAO Council. The ICJ can act as a court of appeal of the ILO Administrative Tribunal. And, until 1995, decisions of the United Nations Administrative Tribunal could also be appealed to the ICJ, but the link was severed by the UN General Assembly.

It is however important to state that the ICJ exercises no appellate authority over the decisions of any of Nigeria's tribunal as the Supreme Court of Nigeria inheres within itself the final appellate authority of Nigeria's sovereignty.

15 Judges sit on the bench for the ICJ. Each judge is elected to a nine year term from General Assembly and Security Council nominations. No more than two nationals may represent the same state.
The judges are elected based on individual qualifications meant to represent the legal systems and all the countries of the world.
Whenever a case comes before the court and none of the ICJ’s 15 judges represents the nationalities of the parties, judges ad hoc can be added for the case in question. In such cases, ad hoc judges have full voting rights just as all the other judges on the court.
Cases are decided by a majority vote of the court, nine judges making a quorum. The president of the court votes in the event of a tie.
In order to make a ruling on a case, the court, following Article 38 of the statute, applies and interprets treaties, reviews international customs, general and international law. The International Court of Justice is based at the Peace Palace, at the Hague in the Netherlands. However it can work in any other location it deems necessary.
Nigeria became the 99th member of the United Nations on October, 7 1960 which automatically made it a signatory to the
ICJ Statute, which is an integral part of the UN Charter.
Since inception, three Nigerians, beginning with Charles Onyeama have served as Judges on the International Court of Justice at Hague. 

Tenure Start
Tenure End
Vice President
Charles Onyeama
Bola Ajibola

The Court is also widely remembered in Nigeria for the adverse judgement it gave against Nigeria in the case - Land and Maritime Boundary between Cameroon and Nigeria, ICJ Reports (2002), 303] - wherein it upheld Cameroun's claim to sovereignty over the Bakassi Peninsula which people have always maintained historical association with Nigeria. That judgement led to the Green Tree Treaty between Nigeria and Cameroun.

End of code


Vestibulum bibendum felis sit amet dolor auctor molestie. In dignissim eget nibh id dapibus. Fusce et suscipit orci. Aliquam sit amet urna lorem. Duis eu imperdiet nunc, non imperdiet libero.

Post A Comment: