International Court of Justice
President : –
Vice- President: –
Campion ICJ Manual
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the chief judicial board of the United Nations. It aims to resolve international disputes in the optimum way. One of its duties also includes the provision of Advisory Opinions on legal matters and all procedures are carried out in the official language which is English.
The Roles in the Court
The President and the Deputy President of the ICJ are elected on a three-year basis. The President’s responsibilities include the proceeding and organisation of meetings of the Court. During judicial deliberations, the President has a second vote in the event of votes being equally divided. In case of an absence of the President, the Deputy President replaces him/her.
The Registry works as the permanent administrative organ of the Court. Heading this post is the Registrar who is responsible for helping in the administration of justice with sovereign states as litigants and also has the role of an international secretariat.
For the purposes of the CS ICJ we will have four advocates, two for each party. The advocates act as independent lawyers supporting their client. We have the Applicant/moving Party, which is the party that brings the case before the Court and has the burden of proof and we also have the Respondent Party which is the accused.
The judges are independent lawyers just like the advocates but with the role of abiding by the International Law, whatever the outcome, and not their country’s policy. In ICJ there is no jury responsible for determining issues, questions of fact, so being a Judge at the ICJ holds more gravity that the role of Judges in a national Court as they will perform both the role of a Judge and of the Jury. During the conference Judges must remain as objective as possible and they must never pre-judge until the final deliberation has taken place.
The procedure of the trial
Before the conference
Before the conference all advocates from both parties need to submit these documents to the court:
- Witness list
Quick note: Judges are not allowed to make any research on the topic but have to read only the above-mentioned documents
During the conference
*A final programme will be published prior to the conference*
Explanation of the procedure
During the opening statements, the advocates basically present to the court what they have submitted in the memorandum. That meaning that they have to refer to the historical background of the case, their policy and the outcome that they want the trial to have (prayer)
Presentation of evidence
During that procedure, the advocates need to submit only real pieces of evidence in order to support their case. The other party has the party to object
In order to fill their lack of real evidence, advocates will bring witnesses to the court and support their case with the witnesses’ testimonies
Direct examination: The party that has called the witness does the direct examination. During direct examinations leading questions are not allowed unless the witness is an expert.
Cross-examination: Cross-examination is executed by the opposing party and the judges. Leading questions are allowed during cross-examination. The opposing party and the judges are not allowed to ask questions on something that the advocates didn’t ask.
The Advocates can object on the grounds of:
-Hearsay, when the witness says something that someone else said
-Leading Question, when the advocate tries to lead the answer of the witness during the direct examination
-Irrelevant, when someone during the Cross Examination asks the witness something that it has not brought up by the advocates during the Direct Examination.
Examination of Evidence
At this part of the trial, the judges are called to examine all pieces of evidence which were presented to the court. Firstly each judge gets appointed a different piece of evidence they have to read it and judge it on some certain grounds relevancy, reliability and authenticity. Finally, they have to present to the rest of the judges what was the outcome of their examination.
The advocates can object on:
–reliability, e.x This document if from an unknown author
–relevance, e.x It is not relevant to our case
The closing statements is the time where advocates can outline some points of the trial repeat some of the facts that they had previously mentioned and also solve some questions that the court may have.
Prior to the beginning of trial, the memorandum of each party is presented to the judges. This document contains information on the case, from the perspective of the specific party. For example, historical information, points of law/legal principles, facts and the country’s policy. Finally, it contains the prayer of each party.
Before the trial begins, both advocate teams discuss and agree on certain facts. The advocates should be careful of what they agree on, as these stipulations become real evidence that are not questioned during the case. Meaning, from the moment they are presented to the court, they cannot be changed.
Evidence is used by each party to support their points. It is divided into two categories, real evidence and testimony. Real evidence consists of material objects, such as documents, books, articles and treatises. A testimony is the statement made by a witness, under oath. The statements of fictional characters and advocates do not count as evidence. The advocates should take into consideration the validity of the sources. Wikipedia is not a credible source.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is based on the principle of actori incumbit probatio, meaning the claimant needs to prove their claim as being proof with a superiority of weight. The applicant has to persuade a simple majority of 51% of the judges. If the applicant met the burden of proof, they win.
A hearsay question is when a question is asked about someone who is not present in the Courtroom.
Leading questions are questions that suggest the answer which is most wanted in the witness’s response. For example, questions which provide the answer and thus, they are simple restated. These types of questions are only allowed in cross-examination, but not during the direct examination of a witness. However, when a hostile witness is called upon, leading questions would be allowed during the direct examination.