International Court of Justice

The first Indian to be appointed as a judge in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was Justice Nagendra Singh. He served as a judge on the ICJ from 1967 to 1973 and was also the President of the Court from 1973 to 1976.

Breaking Boundaries: Nagendra Singh – India’s Trailblazer at the International Court of Justice

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) was established by the UN Charter in 1945. However, it began working in 1946. This principal judicial part of the UN is located at the Peace Palace in the Netherlands. The primary purpose of establishing ICJ is to handle legal disputes among states. It also advises on international legal matters.

International Court of Justice Headquarter - 'Peace Palace', The Hague, Netherlands
International Court of Justice Headquarter – ‘Peace Palace’, The Hague, Netherlands. Image Credits – Google

Justice Nagendra Singh became the first Indian-appointed judge in the International Court of Justice. He served as the president of ICJ between 1985-1988. To date, four Indians have been appointed as the judges of ICJ, and Narendra Singh is one of them. Justice Nagendra Singh was born into a Royal Rajput family on 18th March 1914. His place of birth is Dungarpur, Rajasthan, India.

Between 1966 and 1972, Nagendra Singh served as the secretary of India’s President. He also became the Chief Election Commissioner from 1st October 1972 to 6th February 1973. He represented India in the UN legislative assembly in 1966, 1969, and 1975. Singh moved to the Hague in 1973 and became the first Indian Judge of the International Court Of Justice.

Maharaj Sri Nagendra Singh - First Indian judge in the international court of justice
Maharaj Sri Nagendra Singh – First Indian judge in the International Court of Justice with Queen Beatrix at the Congress of the International Association of Lawyers (UIA) in Hague, 1985. Image Credits – Wikipedia

International Court Of Justice Rules

As per the United Nations Charter, ICJ is the primary organ of the UN. The objective of the ICJ is to solve the controversial cases. Many states are part of the International Court of Justice. They can bring a dispute to the court to be solved, and only the states can bring the disagreement matters to the ICJ.

All the 193 state members of the United Nations are the participants of the International Court Of Justice. But what if a state is not a member of the UN? Then how can it become a part of the ICJ? States who are not a member of the UN can participate in the ICJ if they get a vote from the General Assembly or when the Security Council recommends them. According to Article 95 of the UN Charter, each member of the ICJ can resolve the cases via other tribunals.

Any agency or the other five principal organs of the United Nations can bring any advisory proceeding to the court. In such matters, the agencies or the organ seek advice from the court related to international law.

Structure Of The International Court Of Justice

The International Court Of Justice is composed of 15 permanent judges. The Security Council and UN General Assembly elect these judges. To become the Judge of the ICJ, a candidate should get the maximum votes from both sides. Each Judge must belong to a different state. It means all 15 judges are from different nations.

Structure of International of Court of Justice
Structure of International of Court of Justice. Image Credits – ICJ-CIJ/UN Photo

The seats of the judges are partitioned based on geographical regions. These geographical regions include African, Asia, Eastern European, Western, and Caribbean States. Unlike the other principal organs of the UN, ICJ doesn’t consist of government representatives. The first thing that the elected judges of ICJ are asked to do is make a sincere declaration in the open court to perform their duties without being partial and with utmost honesty.

Limitations Of the International Court Of Justice

The International Court Of Justice experiences various limitations, mostly related to the structure and material resources accessible by the court. As ICJ is not established to handle criminal cases, its Jurisdiction cannot seek the individuals involved in illegal acts against humanity. It also has no right to deal with matters related to the violation of the fundamental rights of humans.

The ICJ is different from the International Tribunals. It also does not act like the supreme court of the nations. No individuals can come to the ICJ as their last resort. The International Court Of Justice is only meant to resolve international disputes when one or more States request. The Jurisdiction cannot call the matter on its own unless and until the States propose it.

The Jurisdiction of the International Court Of Justice is based on consent, not compulsions. The ICJ’s Jurisdiction does not have separate powers as the Security Council can question their decision.

To Sum Up

The United Nations Charter established the International Court Of Justice in 1945, but it came into work in 1946. All the States members of the UN are part of the ICJ. There are 15 permanent judges in the International Court Of Justice, elected by the Security Council and the General Assembly of the UN. A candidate has to receive the majority of votes from both sides to become the Judge of ICJ.

 

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