International Court of Justice (ICJ)

Internationaler Gerichtshof in Den Haag Enlarge image (© Quelle: picture alliance / dpa )

The ICJ in The Hague is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. As a member of the United Nations, Germany is also a party to the Court's Statute.


When does the ICJ have jurisdiction?

The Court may only hear a case if all parties to the dispute in question recognize its jurisdiction. One way of expressing such recognition is for a state to make a declaration under Art. 36 (2), as Germany has done. All states that have made such a declaration may ask the Court to adjudicate their disputes. In legal terms, by making this declaration, Germany has recognized "as compulsory ipso facto and without special agreement, in relation to any other state accepting the same obligation, the jurisdiction of the Court".

States may also accept the Court's jurisdiction on an ad-hoc basis, i.e. just for one particular case. Disputes may furthermore be heard by the Court if jurisdiction has been established by an international agreement.


Germanys' role

German policy in the field of international law seeks to strengthen international judicial mechanisms and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Germany was the 66th state to recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and herwith joins the company of a clear majority of EU Member States and of other states such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

Website of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)