International Court of Justice – The Court commemorates the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting

International Court of Justice

The Court commemorates the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting

THE HAGUE, 19 April 2021. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, today commemorated the 75th anniversary of its inaugural sitting, which took place on 18 April 1946 in the Great Hall of Justice of the Peace Palace in The Hague.

The Court was set up in the aftermath of the Second World War as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The Statute of the Court forms an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations, which was signed in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 and came into force on 24 October 1945. The first Members of the Court were elected on 6 February 1946 at the First Session of the General Assembly and the Court held its inaugural sitting at the Peace Palace, The Hague, on 18 April 1946.

… During the first 75 years of the Court’s existence, States have submitted over 140 disputes to it. Over 25 requests for advisory opinions have been referred to the Court by United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

… The Court has demonstrated that it is equipped to tackle cases relating to new areas of international law that have emerged and developed since its first sitting. In recent years, for example, the Court has gotten high marks for the way it has handled scientific and technical aspects of environmental disputes. The docket has also included cases arising under a number of important human rights treaties.

At present, outer space law is one field that is burgeoning. There are lively discussions about the legal framework applicable to many aspects of the cyber world. The drafters of the Court’s Statute could not have envisioned these areas of law, just as I cannot predict the fields of international law that will be blossoming 75 years from now. However, I feel confident that the institution and procedures established in the Statute of the Court and in its Rules will continue to provide fertile ground for the peaceful settlement of inter-State disputes…