The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the highest court of the United Nations (UN), is set to begin hearing on a case filed by West African country Gambia against Myanmar over the Rohingya genocide which forced hundreds of thousands to flee the Asian nation.
The hearing will be live streamed on December 10 at 10am (3pm Bangladesh time). Aung San Suu Kyi will defend Myanmar's actions against the Rohingya Muslims.
The ICJ mechanisms is explained as follows:
What is ICJ?
ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN and was established by its charter signed in 1945 and became operational in 1946 in the Peace Palace, The Hague (Netherlands). It is composed of 15 judges and is primarily responsible for settling legal disputes between States in accordance with international law and giving advisory opinions on legal matters referred to it by duly authorised UN organs.
Who is eligible to file a case?
Only states are eligible to file suits and appear before the court, which means the 193 member states of the UN can appear before it. Although individuals, NGO and corporations fall outside its jurisdiction, a state can take up the case of a national if s/he has been wronged by another Member state – hence the dispute is between two member states.
Difference with International Criminal Court and tribunals
Unlike International Criminal Courts and ad hoc criminal tribunals, the ICJ has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity. As ICJ is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate proceedings.
How is ICJ different from other international courts?
The primary role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (based in Luxembourg). The European Court of Human Rights (in Strasbourg, France) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (in San José, Costa Rica) deal with allegations of violations of human rights conventions under which they were set up. The jurisdiction of ICJ is general and thereby differs from that of specialist international tribunals, such as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). ICJ is not a supreme court to which national courts can turn; it does not act as a court of last resort for individuals. It is not an appeal court for any international tribunal.
Why are some inter-state disputes strike out by ICJ?
The ICJ can only hear a dispute when requested to do so by one or more member states. The States involved in the dispute must consent to the Court's considering the dispute in question. This is a fundamental principle governing the settlement of international disputes, since States are sovereign and free to choose how to resolve their disputes.
A State may manifest its consent in three ways: By special agreement two or more States with a dispute on a specific issue may agree to submit it jointly to the Court and conclude an agreement for this purpose; 2) by a clause in a treaty: over 300 treaties contain clauses (known as jurisdictional clauses) by which a State party undertakes to accept the jurisdiction of the Court should a dispute arise with another State party about the interpretation or application of the treaty; 3) by a unilateral declaration: the States parties to the Statute of the Court may opt to make a unilateral declaration recognizing the jurisdiction of the Court as binding with respect to any other State also accepting it as binding.
In principle, any State in this group is entitled to bring one or more other States in the group before the Court. Declarations may contain reservations limiting their duration or excluding certain categories of dispute. They are deposited by States with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Are decisions of the Court binding?
Judgments delivered by the Court (or by one of its Chambers) in disputes between States are binding upon the parties concerned. Article 94 of the United Nations Charter provides that "[e]ach 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 there is a dispute about the meaning or scope of a judgment, the only possibility is for one of the parties to make a request to the Court for 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.
Can we attend hearings of the Court?
The hearings of the Court are public, unless it has been decided to hold a closed hearing. For information on how to attend, please refer to the visits pages on the website. Representatives of the media wishing to cover the hearings must be duly accredited. For further information, please refer to the Accreditation page under "Press room".