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Ms. Vera Gowlland-Debbas

Ms. Vera Gowlland-Debbas
Professor of Public International Law
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), Geneva

Biography Biography in PDF

Courts and Tribunals
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The International Court of Justice
as the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations
The lecture approaches the International Court of Justice from the perspective of the specificity of the Court’s status within the framework of the United Nations and, in particular, the Organisation’s peace maintenance function; it thus underlines the close symbiosis between the Charter and the Statute and examines the way the Court conceives itself in turn as a “principal”, “judicial” and “principal judicial” organ as well as how this may affect its general role and responsibilities. It concludes that the dual functions of the Court - both as principal judicial organ of the UN and as World Court acting as an organ of international law - should increasingly come together and reduce the tensions and ambiguities inherent in this dédoublement fonctionnel.

Original Lecture
English  (63 minutes)

Lecture with simultaneous interpretation
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Courts and Tribunals
International Court of Justice (ICJ)
The International Court of Justice as the Principal Organ of the United Nations
Outline of Lecture PDF document (13.2 KB)

Recommended Reading
Amr, M.S.M., The Role of the International Court of Justice as the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations (2003).

Bedjaoui, Mohammed: Les relations entre la Cour Internationale de Justice et les autres organes principaux des Nations Unies - Pour des rapports de seconde génération, in Boutros Boutros-Ghali: Amicorum Discipulorumque Liber - Paix, développement, démocratie (1998), p.177

Bowett, D., “The Court’s Role in Relation to International Organizations”, in Fifty Years of the International Court of Justice. Essays in Honour of Sir Robert Jennings (Lowe, V., Fitzmaurice, M.,eds., 1996), pp.181–192

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “The International Court of Justice at 60: Performance and Prospects. Remarks”, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, 100th Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., 2007.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “The Responsibility of the Political Organs of the UN for Palestine in Light of the ICJ’s Wall Opinion”, in Marcelo G. Kohen (ed.), Promoting Justice, Human Rights and Conflict Resolution through International Law. Liber Amicorum Lucius Caflisch, Leiden, Martinus Nijhoff, 2006, pp. 1095-1119.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., Commentaries on “Art.7, UN Charter” and “Art.1, ICJ Statute”, in Commentary on the Statute of the International Court of Justice, Andreas Zimmermann, Christian Tomuschat and Karin Oellers-Frahm (eds.), Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 79-105 and 195-204, respectively.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Are there some Individuals Bereft of all Legal Protection? The Relevance of Paragraph 25 of the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion on Nuclear Weapons”, in Mapping New Boundaries, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law, 98th Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., 2004, pp. 358-363.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “The Relationship between Political and Judicial Organs of International Organisations: The Role of the Security Council in the New International Criminal Court”, International Organisations and International Dispute Settlement: Trends and Prospects, in Laurence Boisson de Chazournes, Cesare Romano and Ruth Mackenzie (eds.), Transnational Publishers, 2002, pp. 195-218.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “The Right to Life and Genocide: the Court and an International Public Policy”, in International Law, the International Court of Justice and Nuclear Weapons, Philippe Sands and Laurence Boisson de Chazournes (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 315-337.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “Strengthening the Role of the Court as the Principal Judicial Organ of the UN. Commentary”, in Increasing the Effectiveness of the International Court of Justice, Connie Peck and Roy S. Lee (eds.), Proceedings of the ICJ/UNITAR Colloquium to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Court, Martinus Nijhoff, 1997, pp. 254-266.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “Judicial Insights into the Fundamental Values and Interests of the International Community“, in The International Court of Justice: Its Future Role After 50 Years, A.S. Muller, D.Raic and J.M. Thuranszky (eds.), Martinus Nijhoff, 1997, pp. 327-366.

Gowlland-Debbas, V., “The Relationship between the International Court of Justice and the Security Council in the Light of the Lockerbie Case”, American Journal of International Law, vol. 88, 1994, pp. 643-677.

Gross, L., “The International Court of Justice and the United Nations”, Rec. des Cours 120 (1967), pp. 313–440.

Lachs, M., “La Cour internationale de Justice, organe judiciaire principal des Nations Unies”, in Liber Amicorum Adolf Schnitzer. Offert à l’occasion de son 90e anniversaire le 30 juillet 1979 par la Faculté de droit de l’Université de Genève (1979), pp. 269–284.

Pellet, A., “Strengthening the Role of the Court as the Principal Judicial Organ of the UN”, in Increasing the Effectiveness of the International Court of Justice, Proceedings of the ICJ/UNITAR Colloquium to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Court, (Peck, C./Lee, R.S., eds., 1997), pp. 234–253.

Pellet, A., “Le glaive et la balance. Remarques sur le rôle de la C.I.J. en matière de maintien de la paix et de la sécurité internationales”, in International Law at a Time of Perplexity. Essays in Honour of Shabtai Rosenne (Dinstein, Y., Tabory, M., eds., 1989), pp. 539–566.

Schwebel, S.M., “Relations between the International Court of Justice and the United Nations”, in Le droit international au service de la paix, de la justice et du développement, Mélanges Michel Virally (1991), p. 431–443.