There are a wide variety of international courts and tribunals that have varying degrees of relation to the UN.
These range from the ICJ, which is a principal organ of the organization; to the ad hoc criminal tribunals established by the Security Council; to the ICC and ITLOS, which were established by conventions drafted within the UN but which are now independent entities with special cooperation agreements. Other international courts may be completely independent of the UN.
The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the UN.
The Court’s role is to:
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent judicial body with jurisdiction over persons charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The UN has been involved with several tribunals established to bring justice to victims of international crimes. The Security Council established two ad hoc criminal tribunals, the ICTY and the ICTR. The UN has also been involved in various ways with the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), and others. Though the UN continues to be actively engaged in transitional justice and rule of law matters, the ICC is mandated to be a permanent international criminal court, fulfilling the role of these ad hoc criminal tribunals. There are many secondary sources of information that can support research on various aspects of the work of the tribunals.
Formal name: International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia since 1991.
Formal name: International Criminal Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Genocide and Other Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of Rwanda and Rwandan Citizens Responsible for Genocide and Other Such Violations Committed in the Territory of Neighbouring States between 1 January and 31 December 1994.
The ICTR completed its work on 31 December 2015 and the work of the ICTY will soon be completed, however some tasks, including archiving of the case materials, will be carried out by a new body, the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals. This body calls itself the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (UNMICT).
Because this is a new body, and the Tribunals are still completing their work, it is not yet clear how much of the ICTY and ICTR website functions will be carried out by the Residual Mechanism.
The UN has an internal justice system to resolve staff-management disputes because the organization has immunity from local jurisdiction and cannot be sued in a national court.
The UN Administrative Tribunal functioned from 1950-2009. It was replaced in 2009 by the new system, composed of two tribunals: the UN Dispute Tribunal and the UN Appeals Tribunal. The General Assembly adopted the new system of administration of justice in resolution 63/253 of 24 December 2008.
The UN Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) is the body to which staff members can formally dispute an administrative decision taken against them. When resolution through informal means cannot be arrived at, and when the result of the management evaluation is not to the satisfaction of the staff member, an application can be made to the UN Dispute Tribunal, as a court of first instance.
The UN Appeals Tribunal reviews appeals against decisions made by the UN Dispute Tribunal. Both staff and the administration can appeal UNDT decisions to the Appeals Tribunal.
The Statutes of both tribunals are annexed to General Assembly resolution 63/253.
The Rules of Procedure for both tribunals are found in General Assembly resolution 64/119 of 16 December 2009.
The text of judgements and orders of both tribunals are available on their websites. They are not issued as symbolled documents in the Official Document System, or indexed in the Library's catalogue UNBISnet.
Judgements of the UNDT are identified by the year of the judgement, the judgement number and the individual party's name.
Each order of the UNDT is also identified by the name of the applicant and an order number.
Judgements of the UN Appeals Tribunal are identified by the year of the judgement, the judgement number and the individual party's name;
Orders of the UN Appeals Tribunal include the order number and the year or party name.
Like other documents produced by the UN, judgements of both bodies can include the suffix -/Corr. This indicates that there has been a correction made to the original judgement.
The United Nations Administrative Tribunal was established by General Assembly resolution 351 A (IV) of 24 November 1949; the annexed Statute defined the mandate of the Tribunal.
The Statute, Rules and Judgements of the UN Administrative Tribunal are available on the website.
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is an independent judicial body to adjudicate disputes arising out of the interpretation and application of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.