The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies. The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
The Court has a twofold role: to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (Contentious cases ) and to give advisory opinions (Advisory proceedings) on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies. In Contentious proceedings, when a dispute is brought before the Court by a unilateral application filed by one State against another State, the names of parties in the official title of the case are separated by the abbreviation v. for the Latin versus (e.g., Cameroonv. Nigeria). When a dispute is submitted to the Court on the basis of a special agreement between two States, the names of the parties are separated by an oblique stroke (e.g., Indonesia/Malaysia).
The first case entered in the General List of the Court (Corfu Channel (United Kingdom v. Albania)) was submitted on 22 May 1947. From 22nd May 1947 to 6 December 2011, 151 cases were entered in the General List.