The International Court of Justice

Committee Description

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. The ICJ is the successor of the Permanent Court of International Justice and it is one of the six main organs of the United Nations. However, the ICJ is seated at the Peace Palace in The Hague, which makes it the only UN principal organ that is not located in New York. The Court is guided by the Statute of the ICJ and consists of 1 Registrar and 15 Judges, two being the President and Vice President. The members of the Court are elected to nine-year terms by the General Assembly and Security Council. It has two official languages, which are English and French.

The ICJ is not a criminal court. The Court has no jurisdiction over individual crimes, instead, it deals with the legal disputes between Member States. Overall, the ICJ has two duties. They are settling “legal disputes submitted to it by States and giving advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.”. In MUNDP 2017, we will be entertaining a contentious international case, where two Latin American nations are in a legal dispute.

The case regarding Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary v. Slovakia) was submitted to the ICJ in 1993, and is on the subject of the implementation and the termination of the Budapest Treaty of 16 September 1977 on the Construction and Operation of the Gabčíkovo-Nagymaros Barrage System. Hungary brought this issue to the court as the prosecutor as it asked the ICJ to investigate whether or not the State of Slovakia had the legal right to proceed with the building of dams after Hungary had terminated the Budapest Treaty in 1991 and suspended the building on its own border. Originally signed between the states of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, The Special Agreement recorded that Slovakia was the sole successor state of Czechoslovakia in this case. Hungary brought this case to the International Court of Justice due to disagreements arising between the two states regarding the completion and continuation of the project.


Gabcikovo-Nagymaros Project (Hungary v. Slovakia)