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[Prelims 2020] [Difference] International Court of Justice (ICJ) and International Criminal Court (ICC)

International Court of Justice – ICJ

  • It is the primary judicial branch of the United Nations and settles legal disputes and provides advisory opinions submitted to it by its member states. ICJ is a civil court.
  • United Nations Security Council enforces its court’s rulings.
  • ICJ is composed of 15 judges elected for 9 years term by the United Nations General Assembly  and United Nations Security Council.
  • International Court of Justice is one of the most important guarantors of peace, security and co-operation among states.

India and ICJ

  • Justice Dalveer Bhandari currently serves as a permanent judge at ICJ.
  • In July 2019, the ICJ directed Pakistan to review the conviction of Kulbhushan Jadhav and, until then, put his death sentence on hold. The ICJ further asked Pakistan to provide India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
    Kukbhusan Jadav is a retired naval officer who was awarded death sentence in 2017 by a Pakistani military court on the charges of espionage.

International Criminal Court – ICC

  • It was set up after the ad hoc tribunals to deal with Rwanda war crimes proved ineffective. ICC is a criminal court.
  • ICC is based on the principle of complementarity. ICC was not created to supplant the authority of national courts. However, when a state’s legal system collapses or when a government is a perpetrator of heinous crimes, the ICC can exercise jurisdiction. ICC is a court of last resort.
  • USA opposed the ICC for fear that it will be used politically against U.S. nationals.
  • ICC ensures that those who commit serious human rights violations are held accountable. Justice helps promote lasting peace, enables victims to rebuild their lives and sends a strong message that perpetrators of serious international crimes will not go unpunished.

India and ICC

  • India is not a party to ICC. The major objections of India to the Rome Statute are :
      • Since ICC is subordinate to UNSC, permanent members are vested with unbridled powers.
      • Terrorism and nuclear weapons usage is not in the purview of ICC.
  • There is criticism that India on signing up the Rome Statute, would immediately come under ICC jurisdiction for human right violations under AFSPA, abuses in Naga movement, Kashmir conflict.

Let us have a look at the table to know the major differences between ICC and ICJ.

Difference between ICC & ICJ – at a glance

  INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE- ICJINTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT – ICC
ESTABLISHMENT YEAR19462002
RELATIONSHIP WITH U.NOfficial court of U.N, commonly known as “World Court”.Independent. Not governed by U.N. Can receive referrals from UNSC. Can initiate prosecution without UN action.
HEADQUARTERSPeace Palace , HagueHague
JURISDICTIONU.N Member states. Can give advisory opinions to UN bodies. Cannot try individuals. Applies International LawIndividuals accused of international crimes. Uses International Law, as war crimes violate Geneva Convention.
TYPES OF CASESSovereignty, boundary disputes, maritime disputes, trade, natural resources, human rights, treaty violations, treaty interpretation, etc.Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of aggression.
DERIVES AUTHORITY FROMStates that ratify the U.N. Charter become parties to the ICJ Statute. Non-UN member states can also become parties to the ICJ by ratifying the ICJ Statute.Rome Statute
APPEALSICJ decision is binding. UNSC can review if states do not comply.Appeals Chamber, according to Rome Statute.
FUNDINGU.N fundedcontribution from state parties to the Rome Statute; voluntary contributions from the U.N; voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.
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