Wednesday, 20th April will mark the 70th aniversery of the founding of the United Nations International Court of Justice, ICJ and will be attended by King Willem-Alexander. His Excellency, President Judge Ronny Abraham will deliver a commemorative speech.
Other prominent members of the UN, including His Excellency Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General and Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders will also speak at this momentous occasion. Entertainment will be provided between speeches by students of the Royal Conservatoire’s School for Young Talent.
The first official session of this purely civil court was held on 18th April at the Peace Palace in The Hague in the presence of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard. Established in June, 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations, the ICJ is the only principal organ of the UN not located in New York City.
Composed of 15 judges elected by the UN’s general Council and Security Assembly, judges appointed to the ICJ serve a 9 year term. The judges are assisted by a staff of 100 known as a Registry. The registry is headed by a Registrar and a Deputy-Registrar. Officials working within the Registry fill many roles. They provide a service helping in the administration of justice with sovereign States as litigants. Other activities of the registry are diplomatic, administrative and judicial. On entering their position, officials take an oath of loyalty and digression.
According to the ICJ’s official website: “The Registry consists of three Departments (Legal Matters; Linguistic Matters; Information), a number of technical Divisions (Personnel/Administration; Finance; Publications; Library; IT; Archives, Indexing and Distribution; Shorthand, Typewriting and Reproduction; General Assistance) and the secretaries to Members of the Court. It currently comprises some 100 officials, either permanent or holding fixed-term contracts, appointed by the Court or the Registrar.”
The ICJ settles disputes between UN states and advises UN organs and specialised agencies. It’s official languages are French and English. The International Criminal Court, ICC, also located at The Hague is responsible for trying individuals and war criminals, but the ICJ solely handles civil UN matters.