International Court of Justice (ICJ)

The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.



Aaron X. Sobel is a junior in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research interests revolve around the intersection of diplomacy, post-conflict development, political institutions and law. Sobel has previously served as Chargé D'Affaires and Under-Secretary General of PMUNC. Sobel is particularly interested in Southeast Asia, having spent most of his life in the Philippines and Cambodia. Besides Model UN, Sobel is a captain and an attorney on Princeton Mock Trial, a peer representative to the Honor Committee, and is involved in student government.


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case a: Vietnam vs. United Nations Security Council

In 1979, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam invaded the Democratic Kampuchea (modern day Cambodia). The Khmer Rouge, the party leading the Democratic Kampuchea, was carrying-out the wholesale slaughter of millions of Cambodian civilians. On multiple occasions, the Khmer Rouge invaded Vietnamese border provinces. Finally, Vietnam retaliated by invading Cambodia and removing the Khmer Rouge and its dictator Pol Pot from power. Vietnamese forces steamrolled their way to Phnom Penh in just three weeks. However, after Vietnam deposed Pol Pot, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) convened to determine if Vietnam waged an illegal war. The UNSC determined that Vietnam had, and imposed crippling sanctions on Vietnam. Vietnam is now appealing the UNSC's decision that Vietnam's war was illegal to the ICJ. In other words, students will argue on whether Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia was legal or illegal.

case b: Qatar vs. Saudi arabia

In June 2017, Saudi Arabia led the charge among many Arabian Peninsula nations to sever all ties with Qatar. Along with the UAE and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia halted all land, air and sea traffic, and evicted Qatari diplomats and citizens. Saudi Arabia instituted targeted sanctions against Qatari organizations and citizens, citing Qatar’s state-funded terrorism as justification. Qatar has filed a case with the International Court of Justice, alleging Saudi Arabia’s actions breached international law by violating treaty obligations and non-intervention – it believes Saudi Arabia is attempting to undermine Qatari sovereignty. The question to be debated is whether the Saudi-led “Blockade of Qatar” is legal international action.