ICJ Rules of Court

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Adopted on April 14, 1978 and entered into force on 1 July 1978[1].

Preamble[2]

The Court,

Having regard to Chapter XIV of the Charter of the United Nations;

Having regard to the Statute of the Court annexed thereto;

Acting in pursuance of Article 30 of the Statute;

Adopts the following Rules.

Part I: The Court

Section A. Judges and Assessors

Subsection 1. The Members of the Court

  • Article 1

1. The Members of the Court are the judges elected in accordance with Articles 2 to 15 of the Statute.

2. For the purposes of a particular case, the Court may also include upon the Bench one or more persons chosen under Article 31 of the Statute to sit as judges ad hoc.

3. In the following Rules, the term “Member of the Court” denotes any elected judge; the term “judge” denotes any Member of the Court, and any judge ad hoc.

  • Article 2

1. The term of office of Members of the Court elected at a triennial election shall begin to run from the sixth of February[3] in the year in which the vacancies to which they are elected occur.

2. The term of office of a Member of the Court elected to replace a Member whose term of office has not expired shall begin to run from the date of the election.

  • Article 3

1. The Members of the Court, in the exercise of their functions, are of equal status, irrespective of age, priority of election or length of service.

2. The Members of the Court shall, except as provided in paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Article, take precedence according to the date on which their terms of office respectively began, as provided for by Article 2 of these Rules.

3. Members of the Court whose terms of office began on the same date shall take precedence in relation to one another according to seniority of age.

4. A Member of the Court who is re-elected to a new term of office which is continuous with his previous term shall retain his precedence.

5. The President and the Vice-President of the Court, while holding these offices, shall take precedence before all other Members of the Court.

6. The Member of the Court who, in accordance with the foregoing paragraphs, takes precedence next after the President and the Vice-President is in these Rules designated the “senior judge”. If that Member is unable to act, the Member of the Court who is next after him in precedence and able to act is considered as senior judge.

  • Article 4

1. The declaration to be made by every Member of the Court in accordance with Article 20 of the Statute shall be as follows: “I solemnly declare that I will perform my duties and exercise my powers as judge honourably, faithfully, impartially and conscientiously.”

2. This declaration shall be made at the first public sitting at which the Member of the Court is present. Such sitting shall be held as soon as practicable after his term of office begins and, if necessary, a special sitting shall be held for the purpose.

3. A Member of the Court who is re-elected shall make a new declaration only if his new term is not continuous with his previous one.

  • Article 5

1. A Member of the Court deciding to resign shall communicate his decision to the President, and the resignation shall take effect as provided in Article 13, paragraph 4, of the Statute.

2. If the Member of the Court deciding to resign from the Court is the President, he shall communicate his decision to the Court, and the resignation shall take effect as provided in Article 13, paragraph 4, of the Statute.

  • Article 6

In any case in which the application of Article 18 of the Statute is under consideration, the Member of the Court concerned shall be so informed by the President or, if the circumstances so require, by the Vice-President, in a written statement which shall include the grounds therefor and any relevant evidence. He shall subsequently, at a private meeting of the Court specially convened for the purpose, be afforded an opportunity of making a statement, of furnishing any information or explanations he wishes to give, and of supplying answers, orally or in writing, to any questions put to him. At a further private meeting, at which the Member of the Court concerned shall not be present, the matter shall be discussed; each Member of the Court shall state his opinion, and if requested a vote shall be taken.

Subsection 2. Judges ad hoc

  • Article 7

1. Judges ad hoc, chosen under Article 31 of the Statute for the purposes of particular cases, shall be admitted to sit on the Bench of the Court in the circumstances and according to the procedure indicated in Article 17, paragraph 2, Articles 35, 36, 37, Article 91, paragraph 2, and Article 102, paragraph 3, of these Rules.

2. They shall participate in the case in which they sit on terms of complete equality with the other judges on the Bench.

3. Judges ad hoc shall take precedence after the Members of the Court and in order of seniority of age.

  • Article 8

1. The solemn declaration to be made by every judge ad hoc in accordance with Articles 20 and 31, paragraph 6, of the Statute shall be as set out in Article 4, paragraph 1, of these Rules.

2. This declaration shall be made at a public sitting in the case in which the judge ad hoc is participating. If the case is being dealt with by a chamber of the Court, the declaration shall be made in the same manner in that chamber.

3. Judges ad hoc shall make the declaration in relation to any case in which they are participating, even if they have already done so in a previous case, but shall not make a new declaration for a later phase of the same case.

Subsection 3. Assessors

  • Article 9

1. The Court may, either proprio motu or upon a request made not later than the closure of the written proceedings, decide, for the purpose of a contentious case or request for advisory opinion, to appoint assessors to sit with it without the right to vote.

2. When the Court so decides, the President shall take steps to obtain all the information relevant to the choice of the assessors.

3. The assessors shall be appointed by secret ballot and by a majority of the votes of the judges composing the Court for the case.

4. The same powers shall belong to the chambers provided for by Articles 26 and 29 of the Statute and to the presidents thereof, and may be exercised in the same manner.

5. Before entering upon their duties, assessors shall make the following declaration at a public sitting: “I solemnly declare that I will perform my duties as an assessor honourably, impartially and conscientiously, and that I will faithfully observe all the provisions of the Statute and of the Rules of the Court.”

Section B. The Presidency

  1. Any amendments to the Rules of Court, following their adoption by the Court, are now posted on the Court’s website, with an indication of the date of their entry into force and a note of any temporal reservations relating to their applicability (for example, whether the application of the amended rule is limited to cases instituted after the date of entry into force of the amendment); they are also published in the Court’s Yearbook. Articles amended since 1 July 1978 are marked with an asterisk and appear in their amended form.
  2. Amendment entered into force on 14 April 2005.
  3. This is the date on which the terms of office of the Members ofthe Court elected at the first election began in 1946.