Law Relationships Between International Court of Justice and International Organisations

The proliferation of international organisations, the growth in treaty arrangements among states, and the deepening of regional integration efforts all represent formal expressions of the extent to which international politics has become more institutionalised. International organisations are forms of cooperation founded on an international agreement usually creating a new legal body established under international law and serve as a secondary subject or substitute of a State’s exercise of governmental powers extending beyond their domestic jurisdiction as a crucial forum for state cooperation. International organisations are thus created for a reason, their existence is functional, and directly connected to the performance of the function. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for example serves as a regulation of financial assistance flows for the World Bank which is an international financial institution. Shared mutual interests in the collective protection against threats to peace and security see International Organisations’s working with the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or in the protection of human rights they will have participatory status in the United Nations or the Council of Europe. The scope of the legal personality of an international organisation depends on the powers attributed to it by the international institution to which it serves but are not ipso facto. It has direct rights under international law, direct access to international courts and tribunals, and direct criminal responsibility under international law.

The International Court of Justice is one of the United Nations principle judicial organs. It has two roles: 

  1. resolving legal disputes between States submitted to it by them and
  2. providing advisory opinions on legal questions requested by the United Nations organs and specialised agencies in what are referred to as advisory proceedings.

The court is comprised of independent judges, elected regardless of their nationality, from among persons of high moral character and who possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices or juriconsults of recognised competence in international law. There must be a representation of the main forms of civilisation and of the principle legal systems of the world. Fifteen members on nine-year terms are elected by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council, and the court is permanently in sessions, located in the Hague. The decision of the International Court of Justice has a binding force only for the parties and in respect of that particular case, and the judgement is final and without appeal. 

Limitations to the International Court of Justice are that only states that are member state to the United Nations or states which have become parties to the states of the International Court of Justice and accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions can be tried. However, as of 2020, almost every state in the world is a member to the United Nations, thus making the International Court of Justice the most permanent and comprehensive institution for adjudication or enforcement of international law, validifying international law as ‘real law’.

To sum up, assessment of history and scholarly research reveal that formal international organisations, established by a treaty or other instrument governed by international law and court of justice, possessing its own international legal personality that can stand up in court in the settlement of disputes serve the international community well. However, they do not provide permanent and comprehensive international solutions for adjudication or enforcement of the law in international life. The closest the international community comes is with the International Court of Justice nowadays.

07 July 2022
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