Saturday, October 11, 2008
The U.N. General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/63/3 in which it asks the International Court of Justice to "render an advisory opinion on the following question: Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?"
The ICJ's advisory jurisdiciton is open to five United Nations organs and 16 agencies of the United Nations system. The procedure enables these UN organs and agencies to request opinions from the Court on legal questions.
On receiving a request for an advisory opinion, the ICJ compiles a list of States and organizations that may be able to furnish relevant information. It then organizes the written and oral proceedings pursuant to Articles 66 of its Statute and 105 of its Rules.
Unlike judgments handed down in contentious proceedings between States, the Court’s advisory opinions have no binding effect as such. However, the authority of the Court as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations attaches to them.
Since 1946 the Court has given 25 Advisory Opinions, concerning inter alia the conditions of admission of a State to membership in the United Nations, reparation for injuries suffered in the service of the United Nations, the international status of South West Africa (Namibia), certain expenses of the United Nations, certain judgments rendered by the United Nations administrative tribunal, Western Sahara, the applicability of the obligation to arbitrate under Section 21 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement, questions relating to the privileges and immunities of human rights rapporteurs, the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons and the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory.