International Criminal Court (ICC)

Cour pénale internationale (CPI)
Corte Penal Internacional

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1 July 2002. Initially proposed 1948, when the International Law Commission (ILC) was requested by the United Nations (UN) to study the possibility of setting up such a court. Two draft statutes for such a Court were developed by the United Nations in 1951 and 1953, and much international dialogue has ensued, work having been carried out by International Law Commission in particular. Work was suspended during the 'Cold War' but resumed, 1989, following a suggestion at the 44th General Assembly of the United Nations. A further draft statute, drawn up by the ILC and published in 1992, was submitted to the 48th and 49th General Assemblies in 1993 and 1994, without agreement being reached. Draft statute prepared by a UN Ad Hoc committee, Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, following review of the ILC draft statute was submitted to the United Nations Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, 15 June to 17 July 1998, Rome (Italy), and adopted by 120 of the 148 nations represented at the Conference. The Statute is referred to as Rome Statute -- Statut de la CPI and includes both crimes covered by international treaties and crimes recognized under international or national law. It particularly refers to Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) and Geneva Convention on Torture. ICC was formally established after 60 ratifications of the Rome Statute on 1 July 2002. Also previously referred to as Cour criminelle internationale (CCI). Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Criminal Court (APIC) was adopted Sep 2002.


Based on the model of universal human rights and affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation, provide an international permanent mechanism to hold individuals accountable for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

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Has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole committed after 1 July 2002, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, all of which are defined in the Rome Statute, and the crime of aggression once defined. May exercise jurisdiction if the accused is a national of a State which is a party to the Statute or if the crime is committed on the territory of a State Party (or a State which accepted the Court's jurisdiction). These conditions do not apply when a situation is referred to the Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). States Parties, as well as the Security Council, can refer situations to the Prosecutor for investigation. Prosecutor also has the power to initiate investigations on his or her own initiative on the basis of information received from reliable sources. After examining the information, he or she makes the determination that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with investigations. A Pre-Trial Chamber of judges must give prior authorization for the Prosecutor to proceed. Once investigations have been opened, any warrant of arrest or summons to appear may be issued solely by the Judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber. State Parties are obliged to cooperate fully with the Court in relation to its investigations and prosecution of crimes for which it has jurisdiction. Statute includes important provisions concerning the rights and interests of victims. For the first time in the history of international criminal law, participation of victims at all stages of the proceedings is guaranteed and possible reparations are foreseen. Statute based on principle of complementarity, which guarantees sovereignty of the States in justice matters. Accordingly, the Court does not replace national criminal justice systems, but supplements them. It may investigate, and if appropriate prosecute and try, individuals only when the States concerned are unwilling or unable to genuinely do so. In addition to establishing the ICC, the Statue created the Trust fund for Victims to support and implement programmes addressing harms resulting from genocide, crimes of humanity and war crimes. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC), based in New York NY (USA) and in The Hague (Netherlands), unites nongovernmental organizations worldwide and is a network of over 2,000 nongovernmental organizations advocating for a fair, effective and independent International Criminal Court.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 5 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 11 non-governmental organizations.
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Members in 123 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

  • Societal Problems
    • Crime
  • Law
    • Tribunals, Courts
  • International Relations
    • United Nations

UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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