King looks ahead to 70th anniversary of International Court of Justice

According to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, ‘The International Court of Justice in The Hague is an essential organ for the peaceful settlement of disputes between states. The international legal order is the basis on which friendly and lasting relations between states are built.’ The King was speaking at a UN General Assembly side event in New York in Tuesday.

The event put the spotlight on the important legal work done by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the past 70 years, as well as considering the Court’s future role.

Foreign minister Bert Koenders was the moderator for the event, entitled ‘The International Court of Justice: a Contemporary Court’. King Willem-Alexander and representatives of a large group of UN member states looked ahead to the ICJ’s 70th anniversary celebrations, which will take place in The Hague in April 2016. ‘During the Second World War, the Peace Palace – where the ICJ held its inaugural session – was targeted by bombing raids. But the building survived the war and for the past 70 years remained a place dedicated to the peaceful settlement of disputes,’ the King said in his introductory address.

The King also said that, as the host country of the main judicial organ of the United Nations, the Netherlands is committed to the development of the international legal order. More and more UN member states nowadays recognise the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction. The Kingdom of the Netherlands would like to see that number grow.

‘The Kingdom of the Netherlands firmly believes that the peaceful settlement of disputes is vital to ensure a more just and secure world. So we encourage states to recognise the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction and settle their disputes peacefully,’ the King added. The President of Benin, who co-hosted the event, said his country would soon be recognising the Court’s compulsory jurisdiction.

The ICJ is the UN’s main judicial organ and the only one of its six main organs not located in New York. The ICJ is not a criminal court and does not judge cases concerning individuals. Only disputes between states and legal questions from the UN may be referred to the Court.

Ministry responsible