The International Court of Justice is the principle judicial organ of the United Nations. It is located at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). It began work in 1946, when it replaced the Permanent Court of International Justice, its predecessor, as an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Court has a dual role: to settle in accordance with international law the legal disputes submitted to it by states, and to give advisory opinion on legal questions referred to it by duly authorized international organs and agencies.
The Court is composed of 15 judges elected t nine-year term of office by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council sitting independent of each other.
It may not include more than one judge of any nationality. Elections are held every three years for one-third of the seats, and retiring judges may be re-elected. The members of the Court do not represent their governments but are independent magistrates. The judges must possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for appointment to the highest judicial offices, or be jurists of recognized competence in international law. The composition of the Court has also to reflect the main forms of civilization and principal legal system of the world.
It is an international staff working in duty stations around the world to carry out the diverse day-to-day work of the Organization. It services the other principle organs of the United Nations and administers the programmes and policies laid down by them. At its head is the Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council for a five-year, renewable term.
The duties carried out by the Secretariat are as varied as the problems dealt with by the United Nations. These range from administering peacekeeping operations to mediating international disputes, from surveying economic and social trends and problems to preparing studies on human rights and sustainable development. Secretariat staff also inform the world's communications media about the work of the United Nations; organize international conferences on issues of worldwide concern; and interpret speeches and translate documents into the Organization's official languages.
The United Nations, while head quartered in New York, maintains a significant presence in a Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva, Nairobi, Santiago, and Vienna, and has offices all over the world.