Friday, August 12, 2022

Are decisions of the International Court of Justice binding upon member states?


Ever since the International Court of Justice announced its order in Kulbhushan Jadhav case, the question on every Pakistani’s lips is that are decisions taken by ICJ binding upon members of United Nations?

The answer to the question is:

Judgments delivered by the International Court of Justice (or by one of its Chambers) in disputes between States are binding upon the parties concerned.

According to the ICJ website, Article 94 of the United Nations Charter lays down that “each Member of the United Nations undertakes to comply with the decision of [the Court] in any case to which it is a party”.

Judgments are final and without appeal.

If either of the parties challenges their scope or meaning, it has the option to request an interpretation. In the event of the discovery of a fact hitherto unknown to the Court which might be a decisive factor, either party may apply for revision of the judgment.

As regards advisory opinions, it is usually for the United Nations organs and specialized agencies requesting them to give effect to them or not by whatever means are appropriate for them.

It is pertinent to note here that the ICJ order on Kulbhushan Jadhav case is not the final judgment of the court.


“The court has given its ruling on provisional measures, which is basically a procedural process,” the Pakistani envoy at the ICJ, Moazzam Ahmad Khan, told reporters. “The court has said nothing on the merits or maintainability of the case.”

The ICJ will now call for a more comprehensive filing from India before it decides whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case in full – a process that could take years.


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