(MULTILATERAL GOVERNMENT) Also known as the world court; tribunal for trying civil cases, i.e., court cases involving torts, liabilities, and disputes in international law. Separate and distinct from the International Criminal Court (ICC). Based in the Hague, a coastal city in the Netherlands.

The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council. It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.

Only States (States Members of the United Nations and other States which have become parties to the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions) may be parties to contentious cases.
The International Court of Justice was created in 1945 by the UN Charter. Unfortunately, the USA withdrew from ICJ jurisdiction in 1986*, and only accepts its involvement on a case-by-case basis.

*The Reagan Administration withdrew from the ICJ when the later ruled that the USA was in violation of the UN Charter by mining the territorial waters of Nicaragua, etc.
by Primus Intra Pares July 19, 2010
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