International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court, which has its seat in the Hague, Netherlands, was inaugurated in 2002.

The ICC has the competence to try individuals for the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, when those individuals are nationals of one of the 110 States Party to the Rome Statute or the crime was committed on the territory of a State Party, or the State involved submits a declaration authorizing the ICC’s jurisdiction with respect to the alleged crime.  In such cases, the State involved must refer the situation to the ICC or the ICC must authorize the Prosecutor’s investigation proprio motu. The ICC may also investigate and prosecute alleged crimes when the situation has been referred to it by the UN Security Council, even without the relevant State(s)’s ratification of the Rome Statute or ad hoc acceptance of ICC’s jurisdiction.  The ICC’s competence to try individuals for the crime of aggression is being ironed out by the States Parties.

To date, the Prosecutor has initiated investigations into four “situations” (regarding Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan) referred to the ICC by the States involved or, in the case of Sudan, by the UN Security Council.  The Prosecutor’s request to initiate a fifth investigation proprio motu is pending approval by the Pre-Trial Chamber (regarding Kenya).   To date, one case (against Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of the DRC) has reached the trial stage before the ICC.

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