Why ICC is necessary?
The International Criminal Court brings the most serious international criminals to justice
- To achieve justice for all
- To end impunity
- To help end conflicts
- To remedy the deficiencies of ad hoc tribunals
- To take over when national justice institutions are unwilling or unable to act
- To deter future war criminals (UN, 1998-1999)
and challenges the impunity that they have so often enjoyed in the past. Until now, those who commit atrocities have gotten away with it and their victims left with nothing. The ICC provides redress and reparations for the victims and survivors of these atrocities, which is a vital step towards accountability and lasting justice.
What is the ICC?
The ICC is the first ever permanent, treaty based, international court established to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished which is located in The Hague in the Netherlands. The court acts only in cases where states are unwilling or unable to do so - known as the principle of complementarity.
Who prosecute the criminals?
The Court prosecutes individuals - not states. The court consists of eighteen elected judges and an elected prosecutor, who leads investigations and tries cases. Only those states that have ratified the treaty are able to nominate and elect judges and prosecutors.
When did the court establish?
On 17 July 1998, one hundred and twenty countries voted to adopt the treaty outlining the establishment and structure of an International Criminal Court. Since then, 139 countries have signed the treaty and as of August 2006, 100 countries have ratified it. The treaty entered into force on 1 July 2002. The court takes cases that occur after its entry into force. This means that crimes committed before this moment in time cannot be brought to the court – this is known as non-retroactivity.
What are the jurisdictions of court?
The court investigates and tries individuals for the most serious international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. The ICC has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territories of ratifying states and over crimes committed anywhere by nationals of ratifying states. States that do not ratify the treaty can choose to accept the court's jurisdiction in particular cases. These states, and all states parties, must cooperate with the court’s investigations and prosecutions.
How do cases reach the ICC?
There are three ways that cases can be brought to the International Criminal Court. Both a state that has joined the treaty and the Security Council of the United Nations can refer a situation to the court for investigation. In addition, the ICC prosecutor can start an investigation based on information that she or he receives from victims, non-governmental organizations, or any other reliable source. The ICC relies on state cooperation in its investigation and prosecution of cases.
Click here for a detailed overview of the ICC