Comparison of the ICJ and the ICC

Background Fact Sheet

Comparison of the ICJ and the ICC

Question: What are the similarities and differences between the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

Answer: Below is a side-by-side comparison of the two international courts. More information about each of the two courts can be found on the UN Courts and Tribunals page.

Feature International Court of Justice (ICJ)
La Cour Internationale de Justice (CIJ)
International Criminal Court (ICC)
La Cour pénale internationale (CPI)
Website icj-cij.org icc-cpi.int
Year Court Established 1946 2002
Languages English, French English, French
UN-Relationship Official court of the U.N., commonly referred to as the “World Court.” Independent. May receive case referrals from the UN Security Council. Can initiate prosecutions without UN action or referral.
Location The Hague, The Netherlands The Hague, The Netherlands
Jurisdiction U.N. member-states (i.e. national governments) Individuals
Types of Cases (1) Contentious between parties, (2) Advisory opinions Criminal prosecution of individuals
Subject Matter Sovereignty, boundary disputes, maritime disputes, trade, natural resources, human rights, treaty violations, treaty interpretation, and more. Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of aggression
Authorizing Legal Mechanism States that ratify the U.N. Charter become parties to the ICJ Statute under Article 93. Non-UN member states can also become parties to the ICJ by ratifying the ICJ Statute. Each state must provide consent to any contentious case by explicit agreement, declaration, or treaty clause. Rome Statute
Appeals None. The ICJ decision in a contentious case is binding upon the parties. If a State fails to comply with the judgment, the issue may be taken to the UN Security Council, which has the authority to review, recommend, and decide upon enforcement. Appeals Chamber. Article 80 of the Rome Statute allows retention of an acquitted defendant pending appeal.
Precedent No stare decisis. Prior case law is persuasive authority. No stare decisis. Prior case law is persuasive authority.
Online Archives 1946-present 2002-present
Funding UN-funded. Assessed contribution from state parties to the Rome Statute; voluntary contributions from the U.N.; voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.
Budget 2006-2007 $36.8 million 2007 €88.87 million
2008 €90.4 million
2009 €106.2 million (roughly US$136 million)

Read more about the various UN Courts and Tribunals.

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