19 septembre 2013

OUVRAGE : R. Kolb, The International Court of Justice

Catherine MAIA

The International Court of Justice (in French, the Cour internationale de justice), also commonly known as the World Court or ICJ, is the oldest, most important and most famous judicial arm of the United Nations. Established by the United Nations Charter in 1945 and based in the Peace Palace in the Hague, the primary function of the Court is to adjudicate in disputes brought before it by states, and to provide authoritative, influential advisory opinions on matters referred to it by various international organisations, agencies and the UN General Assembly.

This new work, by a leading academic authority on international law who also appears as an advocate before the Court, examines the Statute of the Court, its procedures, conventions and practices, in a way that will provide invaluable assistance to all international lawyers. The book covers matters such as: the composition of the Court and elections, the office and role of ad hoc judges, the significance of the occasional use of smaller Chambers, jurisdiction, the law applied, preliminary objections, the range of contentious disputes which may be submitted to the Court, the status of advisory opinions, relationship to the Security Council, applications to intervene, the status of judgments and remedies. Referring to a wealth of primary and secondary sources, this work provides international lawyers with a readable, comprehensive and authoritative work of reference which will greatly enhance understanding and knowledge of the ICJ.

The book has been translated and lightly updated from the French original, R Kolb, La Cour internationale de Justice (Paris, Pedone, 2013), by Alan Perry, Solicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales.


Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations
Table of Cases
Table of Legislative and Related Acts

I) Initial Observations on the Peaceful Resolution of International Disputes
1. Importance and Context
2. Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter
II) Origins and Environment of the International Court of Justice at The Hague
1. Arbitration and Organised Justice: Creation of the Permanent Court of International Justice in 1920
2. The Transition in 1945 from the Permanent Court of International Justice to the International Court of Justice
3. The International Court of Justice as the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations and of Public International Law
4. The Main International Jurisdictions based at The Hague
III) The Texts Governing the Court’s Activities
1. Constitutive Texts: The Statute and the Charter
2. The Rules: Derivative Provisions
3. Subordinate Texts: Practice Directions
IV) Composition of the Court
1. The Bench
2. Electing the Judges
3. Chambers of the Court
4. The Registry
V) Contentious Procedure: Inter-State Disputes
1. First Steps in a Case
2. Discontinuing a Case
3. Validity of Seising the Court, Jurisdiction of the Court and Admissibility of an Applicationa
4. Preliminary
5. Personal Jurisdiction (ratione personae): Who can Appear before the Court as a Party?
6. Subject-matter Jurisdiction (ratione materiae): Which Cases can the Court Decide?
7. Consensual Jurisdiction (ratione consensus): When can the Court decide a Case?
8. Freedom to use Some Other Mode of Dispute Resolution even where there is ‘Compulsory Jurisdiction’
9. Limitation of the Court’s Jurisdiction if the Subject of the Dispute affects the Rights and Obligations of Third States which have not Consented to it
10. Concurrent Titles of Jurisdiction
11. ‘Transitional’ Jurisdiction under Article 36, paragraph 5, and Article 37 of the Statute
12. Jurisdiction as to Jurisdiction
13. The Principle of the Forum Perpetuum or Perpetuatio Fori
14. Provisional Measures of Protection
15. Counterclaims
16. Default Procedure
17. Intervention by Third States
18. The Power to Pronounce a non liquet
19. Judgments and Orders by Consent
20. Declaratory Judgments
21. Effects of the Decision
22. Interpretation of the Judgment
23. Revision of a Judgment
24. Implementation of the Judgment
25. The Court’s Competence as an ‘Appellate’ Body (Supervisory Jurisdiction
26. Jurisdiction to Review the Legality of Acts of Other United Nations Organs, particularly the Security Council
27. The Competence of the Security Council to order a Party not to Seise the Court
VI) General Principles applicable to Contentious Proceedings
1. The Principle ‘ne eat judex ultra petita partium’
2. Questions concerned with Establishing the Facts, in particular the Burden of Proof
3. The Parties’ ‘Duty of Loyalty’ inter se
VII) Procedural Aspects of Contentious Cases
1. The Concept and Purpose of ‘Procedure’
2. The Various Stages of the Procedure, from the Application to the Decision (Seising the Court, Written Phase, Oral Phase, Deliberation, Judgment)
3. The Agents of the Parties
4. Orders of the Court
5. The Languages of the Court
6. Public Character of the Proceedings
7. Joinder or Consolidation of Cases
8. Costs
9. The Process of Judicial Decision-making
10. Individual and Dissenting Opinions
VIII) Advisory Opinion Procedure: Opinions given to certain Organs of, or Affiliated to, the United Nations
1. What is an Advisory Opinion?
2. Seising the Court: Who can Request an Advisory Opinion?
3. The Court’s Jurisdiction: When can the Court give an Advisory Opinion?
4. Admissibility of the Request: What Conditions must it Satisfy?
5. The Non-existent Discretionary Character of the Opinion: Is the Court Bound to Render One?
6. Legal and Political Effects of Advisory Opinions
7. Procedure for Advisory Opinions
8. Overall Assessment
IX) General Principles governing the Court’s Contentious and Advisory Procedures
1. The Fundamental Principle of Equality as between the Parties
2. The Maxim concerning the ‘Proper Administration of Justice’
X) The Court’s Jurisprudence and its Current Trends
1. The Court’s Contribution: The Development of a ‘Jurisprudence’
2. General Overview: Jurisprudential Phases and Major Decisions (1986–the Present Day)
3. The Handling of Precedents and the Technique of Distinguishing Them
4. Techniques of Judicial Activism and Judicial Restraint
XI) Miscellaneous Questions
1. The Court’s Publications
2. The Court’s Finances
3. Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities of Members of the Court
4. The Court’s Extra-judicial Activities
5. The Court and the Wider Public
6. Relations between the Court and Other International Courts and Tribunals
7. The Question of Reforming the Court
XII) Conclusion: The Future of the International Court of Justice

Annex to the Conclusion
Annex I: The Statute
Annex II: The Rules
Annex III: Practice Directions
Select Bibliography


Robert KOLB, The International Court of Justice, Oxford, Hart Publishing, 2013 (1362 pp.)

Robert Kolb is Professor of Public International Law at the University of Geneva. He worked as legal adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross from 1998 to 1999, and has worked occasionally for the International Law Directorate of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Section on the Law of Armed Conflicts of the Swiss Army. He is also Counsel for Lalive Attorneys-at-Law, Geneva.

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