April 18, 2020: The International Court of Justice
I today is Saturday. April Eighteenth Twenty twenty on this day in nineteen forty six. The International Court of Justice held its inaugural sitting at the Peace Palace in the Netherlands. President Judge Jose Gustavo Guerrero was sworn in as the world court's new leader amongst hundreds of witnesses. This sparked the dawn of a new era one where international criminal justice might finally help us achieve world peace welcome to day and true crime apart cast original. Today we're covering the inauguration of the International Court of Justice the head Judicial Organization for the United Nations the ICJ became the new World Court after the Permanent Court of International Justice and the League of nations were dissolved in Nineteen forty-six. Let's go back to the Netherlands on April. Eighteenth nineteen forty six. It was a beautiful spring day filled with hope as the tulips began to bloom in The Hague. Some of the world's most prominent heads of Justice Pass Through Iron Gates beyond the Lush Green Lawn to enter the doors of the Peace Palace. They each took their seats in the grand courtroom. Everyone who sat in that room knew they were about to witness an iconic piece of world history. As of today the Permanent Court of International Justice was permanent no longer it was dissolved along with the League of Nations the League which was formed in nineteen twenty had weakened during World War. Two some even felt it had put its own interests ahead of the interests of the People. Now that the war was over it was time for a new world government to step in one that people trusted to get the job done and today was the beginning of a new dawn. Today was the day the United Nations and the International Court of Justice would take the throne. Now they would be the ones to peacefully settle the disputes and large-scale crimes between nations they would be the ones to bring hope and promise back to the people and one day maybe even help humanity finally achieve world peace. Everyone was signalled to rise. As silence descended upon the courtroom. The door swung open and in March. The fifteen judges that would make up the new. International Court of Justice or is CJ each one dressed in long black robes with a traditional white gibault around their necks. The men that made up this panel of judges were each carefully selected some former members of the permanent court of International Justice or P C. I J themselves. They each came from different countries around the world. Jewel bad vall from France. Sumo from China Abdel Hamid Badawi Pasha from Egypt as well as others from the Soviet Union Poland the US Yugoslavia. And more as everyone was signalled to take their seats. One man remained standing. This was Jose Gustavo Guerrero from El Salvador. The last president of the P C I J and now the very first president of the International Court of Justice one of the first things he mentioned was the presence of Dutch royalty Princess Juliana and Prince Berhard. He believed their presence gave the I. C. J. Great Credibility and announce that their support was a shining testimony of its desire of justice that drives through the centuries the Dutch nation from here. Jose Gustavo Guerrero was sworn in in front of hundreds of leaders. Press and fellow judiciaries. His promise went as follows. I solemnly declare that I would exercise my duties and as judge honorably faithfully impartially and conscientiously. The court continued to swear in other members of its registry as the audience watched patient and respectful the first president of the UN. General Assembly paul-henri. Spock also spoke that morning. He expressed his optimism in the new organization. And the faith he had in this brand new judiciary system. He stated we are convinced. We have full assurance that it will soon regain its balance with all its power and all its wealth it had before the war and that it will be again the place of freedom and of the powerful civilization that it was before the war members of the UN like Yvonne S Curno. The Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs waited patiently in line to take their place at the microphone. Each announced their good faith in the new judiciary system and their hope for the future of our planet. Now that World War Two was over. Perhaps we could turn a leaf. It was time for the court to step up and settle cross-nation disputes in accordance with international law. These fifteen men who would go on to serve terms of three six or nine years by random selection would also be the men to offer peaceful resolutions resolutions to some of the most complex legal and criminal disputes. Mankind has ever known coming up. We'll take a look at some of the work. The ICJ and the United Nations has gone on to achieve high listeners. The launch of our new podcast series supernatural with Ashley. Flowers has been an incredible success. Were so happy to welcome Ashley to the podcast family and can't thank you enough for checking out the show. If you haven't had a chance to listen yet I highly recommend you head over to the supernatural feed and subscribe today every Wednesday Ashley. Flowers takes on a different crime or mystery or the most fitting theory isn't always the most conventional the first episode has been my favorite so far. Were the deaths of two Brazilian men a result of making contact with spirits on Mars. Get closer to the truth than ever before. Regarding the mystifying lead masks case but you'll also find some other fascinating stories. Did four friends have a highly unusual encounter during a camping trip in Maine. Sort through the out of this world circumstances surrounding the allegations incident was Italian. Theoretical physicist et CETERA. By Arana's disappearance caused his discovery of time travel or was it something more sinister each week. Ashley takes on the strange and surreal to explain some of the world's most bizarre true crime occurrences if you're the kind of person who questions everything you'll love this. Show follow supernatural with Ashley. Flowers free on spotify. Or wherever? You get your podcasts and now back to the story on April Eighteenth nineteen forty six. Hundreds gathered in the Peace Palace in The Hague to see Jose Gustavo Guerrero sworn in as the first president of the International Court of Justice. This system replaced the Permanent Court of International Justice after it was dissolved with the League of nations a giant failure in the wake of World War. Two in nineteen forty seven just a year after its conception. The court was presented with its first case. The Corfu Channel case stemmed from an issue between the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of Albania in the Corfu channel in October of Nineteen forty-six. A mine explosion occurred just as two of the. Uk's Royal Naval ships passed through channel. The accident resulted in significant damage as well as multiple deaths the United Kingdom brought the case to the United Nations when it suspected the explosions might have been an intentional act of violence by `Albania a government crime against the citizens of the United Kingdom the I. C. J. Ultimately ruled that under international law. Albania was in fact responsible. They were then ordered to pay the British government. Eight hundred forty three thousand nine hundred forty seven pounds or thirty million pounds today. Only Albania refused to pay this forced the UK to return to the International Court of Justice with another complaint against the Albanian government. It wasn't until nineteen ninety six nearly five decades later that the payments were settled despite. What many believe the world court does not convict high profile criminals or settle multinational corporate disputes. In fact it doesn't deal with issues between individuals corporations or Non Governmental Organizations at all their job is to find the most just resolution to crimes committed by a nation as a whole the ICJ deals with two different types of multinational disputes. The first is contentious issues between nations. In which the I. C. j. Then comes to a binding ruling that the nations must adhere to essentially they act as a mediator between the two sides and figure out the best possible conclusion for the world as a whole the nations are then held accountable and seeing this resolution to an end for example in March of two thousand eight. Ecuador filed a contentious case against Colombia in a dispute concerning the aerial spraying of toxic herbicides at locations near the border poisoning the people and Wildlife of Ecuador after hearing both sides the ICJ concluded the best solution would be to establish an exclusion zone. Where Columbia could no longer conduct these operations but the nations were also instructed to create a joint commission to ensure that sprang beyond those zones was regulated and did not affect the people or environment of Ecuador the Corfu Channel case which we mentioned previously was also an example of a contentious dispute the second type of case the I. C. J. Handles our advisory opinions after concluding on these issues the ICJ offers a non-binding ruling once again adhering to suggestions in accordance with international law essentially these advisory rulings are held in high regard and are considered fair assessments and interpretations of those laws. But they're not authoritative nor is the nation forced to follow the rulings made by the court. In fact it's more like sacred advice. For example in December of nineteen ninety four and advisory case asked for their opinion on the following. Is the threat or use of nuclear weapons in any circumstance permitted under international law? Ultimately the court was unable to definitively conclude whether the use of nuclear weapons was either lawful or unlawful. But they were the ones to set the precedent if the issue were to arise on a more immediate scale the ICJ would likely be the one to deal with the problem so in an unofficial way they also needed to be lawmakers themselves the I. C. J. concluded that they would handle negotiations if they should arise which in the future might make the case contentious meaning they might be called to order nuclear disarmament and the regulation of weapons. But the I. C. J. was always going to take the side of the people and do what was best for the world as a whole today. Judge Abdul Call We Ahmed. Yusuf leads the International Court of Justice as the first ever Somali to take the helm now all judges serve a total of nine year. Terms with five seats emptied every three years for new judges since its conception in nineteen forty six the I. C. J. has settled over one hundred seventy different cases and currently third twenty more cases that are still in progress. The most recent lawsuit is between the Republic of the Gambia and Myanmar known widely as the Rohimin judge genocide case on November eleventh two thousand nineteen the Gambia lodged a forty six page complaint against the nation of Myanmar claiming it had committed atrocities such as rape arson and murder against the people of the row. Hinduja communities the Gambia which is part of the Genocide Convention that advocates for the prevention and punishment of genocide is one of the first nations to try and protect a country that it has no affiliation with as a result on January twenty third twenty twenty the ICJ urged Myanmar to take swift measures to protect the row. Hindu Muslims in the area many refugees who had fled to cities like Bangladesh saw massive hope in this verdict with the prospect of one day being able to return home to the friends and family. They had to leave behind while the International Court of Justice and the United Nations wished to restore global peace by resolving issues between all nations. There's no guarantee that they won't meet the same fate. The League of Nations did during World War Two once the ICJ reaches a verdict on contentious issue. The convicted nation is compelled to pay their dues. But the problem is the icy. Jay has barely any power to enforce their verdict. Once it's delivered they can't simply throw an entire country in jail. If a nation does not comply the issue might be turned over to the United Nations to enforce the matter and while the UN doesn't have its own military to apply force they might install trade embargoes imposed exorbitant fines. Freeze the country's assets and in state travel bans until they pay their dues it's certain that without the UN and the ICJ our planet as a whole would be worse for wear there would be no Paris. Climate agreement counterterrorism efforts would be disorganized and lacking in strategy millions. More would go hungry. So while we haven't yet achieved world peace. We are certainly better off today with the UN and the I. C. J. on our side because we are far stronger standing together than we are existing apart. Thanks for listening today in true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson. Check out our series. Not Guilty for more fascinating history. On the justice system today true crime was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original it executive produced by Max Cutler sound designed by Dick Schroeder with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly Madden and Freddie Beckley. This episode of today in true crime was written by Lori. Gottlieb with writing assistance by Maggie Admire. I'm Vanessa Richardson High Listeners. If you haven't heard it already. I highly recommend you check out the new podcast original series supernatural with Ashley Flowers every Wednesday. Take a deep dive into the strange and surreal to find the truth behind some of the world's most bizarre true crime occurrences search for supernatural with Ashley Flowers in the spotify APP and listened free today.