The Permanent Court of International Justice, established in 1920, was the first permanent international tribunal with general jurisdiction. It was later replaced by the International Court of Justice.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ), established in June 1945, continues the work of the Permanent Court of International Justice. The ICJ began work in April 1946. Its responsibility is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes that have been submitted to it by States and to provide advisory opinions on legal questions that have been referred to it by authorized United Nations organs or specialized agencies.
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) was established by the Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. It has jurisdiction over any dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the Convention. Matters litigated before this court may be the delimitation of maritime zones, conservation of living sea resources, as well as protection of the marine environment, among others.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), established in 2002, was created to conduct trials of the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
The African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) was established in 1998. Its mandate is to complement the functions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a quasi-judicial body that monitors the implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other instruments ratified by the States concerned. For more information about it, please go to the links indicated below.
Together with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) is dedicated to the protection of human rights within the Inter-American system. While the Commission is a quasi jurisdictional body, the IACHR, established in 1979, resolves contentious cases and gives advisory opinions. For more information about it, please go to the links indicated below.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) should not be confused with the Court of Justice of the European Union. The ECHR was established in 1959.
The ECHR's responsibility is to rule on applications from either individuals or states concerning alleged violations of either civil or political rights recognized by the European Convention on Human Rights.
The East African Court of Justice, established in 2001, is one of the organs of the East African Community (EAC). Its roles is to ensure the adherence to law in the interpretation and application of and compliance with the EAC Treaty.
The Court of Justice of the European Union was established in 1952. It is the highest court within the European Union.
Its responsibility is to interpret European Union law, also known as "communitarian law", and ensures that it is applied fairly within the member states.
The Special Court for Sierra Leone was created in 2002. Its responsibility was to trial individuals for violations of both international humanitarian law and the law of Sierra Leone, which have occurred since November 1996.
The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia were established in 2001. Their duty is to conduct trials of serious crimes committed during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-1979).
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was established in 2009 after the Government of Lebanon requested the United Nations to create an international tribunal to try individuals responsible for the attack in Beirut on February 14, 2005, which ended in the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others.
Established in 1993, the International Criminal Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia oversaw cases dealing with crimes that took place from 1991 onward during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990’s.
The Iran-United States Claims Tribunal was established in 1981 by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America to resolve certain claims by nationals of one country against the other and certain claims between the countries.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was created in 1994 to prosecute those individuals responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law that occurred during that year. The ICTR also dealt with the prosecution of Rwandan citizens responsible for violations of international law committed in the territory of neighboring States during the same period.
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The author wants to pay homage to the talented deceased FCIL librarian, Stephen Willes, for the initial version of this research guide.