The International Court of Justice (ICJ), having its seat in Hague, serves as the principle judicial organ of the United Nations. Established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations, the ICJ’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

Non-Aligned Movement, based on the principles of world peace and the establishment of a just and equitable international order, has reaffirmed the ICJ’s role towards the same. NAM has endeavoured to generate further progress to achieve full respect for international law and, in this regard, commend the role of the ICJ in promoting the peaceful settlement of international disputes, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UN Charter and the Statute of the ICJ.

NAM Member States reiterated their support for the role of ICJ at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly held on 26 October 2017. Iran, speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, reaffirmed and underscored the group’s principled position concerning the peaceful settlement of disputes and the non-use or threat of use of force. The Court had a significant role to play in promoting and encouraging the peaceful settlement of international disputes in accordance with the relevant statutes of the Charter — especially Articles 33 and 94 — and the Statute of the Court. The Iranian delegate urged the UN Security Council to make greater use of it as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, including as a source of interpretation of relevant international law.

Philippines, associating itself with the Non-Aligned Movement, supported the Court’s efforts to adapt its working methods in response to its increased workload and to use multimedia platforms and the Internet to publicize its decisions. Thailand, associating itself with the Non-Aligned Movement expressed full confidence in the ICJ and encouraged its greater use stressing the integrity and independence of the judges of the ICJ must be maintained.

Bangladesh echoed support for the Court’s crucial role in upholding the rule of law and maintaining international peace and security. Underscoring the possibility for the Assembly, the Security Council and other authorized organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations to request advisory opinions, Bangladesh said that it was advisable to submit cases to the Court on matters that bore “sufficient weight” in order to free its growing workload from addressing issues that could be resolved through other legal and peaceful means. Bangladesh welcomed the Court’s expanded outreach efforts and recommending that the ICJ should consider ways to allow eligible students from developing and least developed countries to benefit from hands-on experience working with the Court.

Cuba attached great importance to providing the budgetary resources required for the Court to appropriately carry out its work, and in that context, appealed for efforts to ensure that those resources arrived in a timely and appropriate manner. Cuba appreciated the dissemination of materials from the Court, which were particularly helpful for developing countries.

NAM Member States have thus echoed their unanimous support towards the activities and the functional role of ICJ in establishing the norms of international law. NAM believes that the activities of the ICJ enlighten and fuel the development of legal doctrine, and that the implementation of its decisions must be ensured. A number of NAM Member States are also of the opinion that the creditability of the work of the ICJ is heavily contingent of it taking into the diverse legal systems and languages.

NAM has also urged that the UN Security Council should work in close cooperation with the ICJ.

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava