The United Nations is known for its pivotal role in maintaining international peace and security. Over the years it has earned its share of achievements. The development of international law can be considered as one of them. The law is responsible for promoting economic and social development around the globe and also to work for the core principle of the United Nations. International Law refers to the rules and values of general applications that deal with the conduct of the state and international organizations regarding their international relationship with each other and, also with individuals, minority groups, and transnational companies. International law contains many conventions, treaties, and standards. The International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice are two important parts of International Law.
The International Criminal Court is known as the world’s first permanent and international judicial body that is capable of bringing the offenders to justice and providing compensation to the victims when states are unable or rather unwilling to do so. The international community on 17 July 1998 adopted the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court at the diplomatic conference in Rome (ICC, 2011). It is considered a major step for the international community as the world started seriously considering the promise made after World War II, ‘never again’. The treaty was largely acclaimed by states, civil societies and, experts. It entered into force on 1 July 2002 and began its first trial in September 2007. The Permanent Court of International Justice was an initiative taken by the League of Nations in 1922 to settle international disputes and to give an advisory opinion. Along with the failure of the League of Nations, there was a need to bring a new international court in the scenario. As a result, after the Second World War, the International Court of Justice was established in June 1945 by the charter of the United Nations (UN, 1945). The principal judicial organ of the United Nations began its work in April 1946.
There are some points of similarities and differences between the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. The headquarters of both are situated in Hague, Netherlands. Both courts deal with international law. Apart from that, there are some major functional differences between them. The International Criminal Court works alongside the United Nations but is not a part of it. It is an independent organization. On the other hand, the International Court of Justice is a fundamental part of the United Nations and its primary judicial branch. The International Criminal Court consists of 18 judges on a nine-year term and the International Court of Justice has 15 judges who also serve a nine-year term. The territorial jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court is only limited to the member states but the International Court of Justice can deal with almost every country of this world. The International Court of Justice is relatively a bigger organization. It has the same members as the United Nations. The International Criminal Court has 104 members currently. While the International Criminal Court gets its authority from the Rome Statute, the International Court of Justice derives its authority from the charter of the United Nations. International Criminal Court deals with criminal matters including genocide, war crimes, and a crime against humanity. International Court of Justice is a civil court mostly dealing with the issue of sovereignty, maritime disputes, and, boundaries. The International Court of Justice is funded by the United Nations. On the other hand, the International Criminal Court gets its funding from member states of Rome Statute and voluntary contributions from the United Nations, individuals and, international corporations.
The International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice are very much different in their nature, scope of work, members, aspects, and funding. These two are, however similar in a sense that, both works to maintain international peace and security in this contemporary world.