ICC, ICJ and World Court confusion

I have seen comments saying Vladimir Putin should be taken to the World Court.  Individuals are not taken there, it is not that sort of court.  Instead it should be to the International Criminal Court (ICC). ‘World Court’ is the common name for the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The International Court of Justice is a United Nations organisation. It exists to settle questions of international law and give legal opinion on disputes between nations. It has said what Russia is doing in Ukraine is wrong. It is a panel of judges who give an opinion: any action has to be taken by nation states.

The International Criminal Court  is a very different body. Although it is an intergovernmental organisation, it is not part of the United Nations. It exists to prosecute individuals for matters such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It can issue arrest warrants, try people and has a detention centre.

It issued an arrest warrant for Putin on 17th March 2023 for the situation in Ukraine.

Confusingly, both are based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Press release about Putin’s arrest warrant.