[Diplomacy] International Criminal Court (ICC) : Organization, functions, powers

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  1. International Criminal Court (ICC): introduction
  2. What is Rome Statute?
  3. Where is ICC located?
  4. What are the functions of ICC?
  5. What is International court of Justice?
  6. Punishment powers of ICC?
  7. any time limits on cases?
  8. Wanted Criminals by ICC
  9. How does ICC get criminals arrested?
  10. Why USA doesn’t sign the treaty?
  11. Who pays for the Administrative expenses of ICC?
  12. Holidays for the Court
  13. Mock Questions

Yes There is one more ICC, apart from the ICC that organizes the Cricket World Cup.
International Criminal Court (ICC): introduction

  • ICC is an independent international organisation, and it is not a part of the United Nations system.

What is Rome Statute?

  • 1998:  120 States adopted the Rome Statute, the legal basis for establishing the permanent International Criminal Court. (USA has not ratified it- reasons given at bottom portion of this article.)
  • The Rome Statute provides two entities:
    • 1. ICC
    • 2. Trust Fund for Victims.
  • 2002: The Rome Statute comes into force and ICC starts operating.

Where is ICC located?

  • seat of the Court is in The Hague in the Netherlands.
  • Although The Rome Statute provides that the Court may sit elsewhere whenever the judges consider it desirable. The Court has also set up offices in the areas where it is conducting investigations.

What are the functions of ICC?

  • To prosecute those responsible for
    • genocide,
    • crimes against humanity
    • war crimes – committed anywhere in the world.
  • It is a court of last resort, intervening only when national authorities cannot or will not prosecute.

What is International court of Justice?

  • International Court of Justice (sometimes called the World Court) is the organ of United Nations.
  • It rules on disputes between governments.
  • ICJ cannot prosecute individuals. While ICC can prosecute individuals.

Punishment powers of ICC?

  • The Court cannot impose a death sentence.
  • The maximum sentence is 30 years.
  • However, in extreme cases, the Court may impose a term of life imprisonment.
  • Convicted persons serve their prison sentences in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have indicated to the Court their willingness to accept convicted persons.

any time limits on cases?

  • The ICC court has no retrospective jurisdiction – it can deal only with crimes committed after 1 July 2002 when the 1998 Rome Statute came into force.
  • court has automatic jurisdiction only for crimes committed on the territory of a state which has ratified the treaty; or by a citizen of such a state; or when the United Nations Security Council refers a case to it.

What kind of cases is the court pursuing?

  • All of the cases currently open are in Africa – prompting some African leaders to say it is biased.
  • highest profile person to be brought to the ICC is Ivory Coast’s former President Laurent Gbagbo.
Wanted Criminals by ICC
Joseph Kony
  • leader of Uganda’s rebel movement, the Lord’s Resistance Army, which is active in Uganda, Congo and Sudan.
  • He is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including abduction of thousands of children and forcing them to kill their own parents.
  • He remains at large and refuses to sign a peace deal until the ICC arrest warrant is revoked.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir outstanding arrest warrant against – the first against a serving head of state.

How does ICC get criminals arrested?

  • ICC has no police force of its own to track down and arrest suspects.
  • Instead it must rely on national police services to make arrests and seek their transfer to The Hague.
  • Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir remains at liberty, with several ICC signatory countries refusing to co-operate in his arrest.

How does the ICC system work?

  • prosecutor begins an investigation if a case is referred either by the UN Security Council or by a ratifying state.
  • He or she can also take independent action, but prosecutions have to be approved by a panel of judges.
  • Both the prosecutor and the judges are elected by the states taking part in the court
  • Each state has a right to nominate one candidate for election as a judge.

Who has agreed to co-operate with the court?

  • Rome Treaty has been ratified by 121 states so far, meaning they therefore bound themselves to co-operate.
  • Only one Arab state has ratified so far – Jordan.

Why USA doesn’t sign the treaty?

  • During negotiations, the US argued that its soldiers might be the subject of politically motivated or frivolous prosecutions.
  • Various safeguards were introduced, and Bill Clinton did eventually sign the treaty in one of his last acts as president but it was never ratified by Congress.
  • However, the Bush administration was adamantly opposed to the court and to any dilution of US sovereignty in criminal justice.
  • US threatened to pull its troops out of the UN force in Bosnia unless they were given immunity from prosecution by the ICC.
  • Some have not even signed the treaty, such as China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Turkey.
  • Others have signed but remain dubious and have not ratified, for example, Egypt, Iran, Israel and Russia.

Who pays for the Administrative expenses of ICC?

  • The states which take part. This will be according to the same rules that govern their contributions to the UN – roughly based on their national wealth.
  • absence of the US and Japan in particular will make the funding of the court more expensive for others.
  • Germany, France and Britain will be the largest contributors.

Holidays for the Court

Official Holidays for the year 2012 [few important ones for indirect GK]

  1. 20 August – Eid Al Fetr Day = Marks the end of Ramzan.
  2. 26 September – Yom Kippur Day = Fasting and prayer day for Jews
  3. 25 December – Christmas Day = Birthday of Jesus Christ.
  4. 26 December – Boxing Day = Day after Christmas, it is bank / public holiday in UK, Hong Kong, Australia etc.

Mock Questions for CSAT 2013/ APFC

Which of the following statements are correct?

  1. International Court Justice can prosecute individuals for war crimes.
  2. Headquarter of International Criminal court is located at Lisbon.
  3. ICC is established by United Nations.

Mock GS paper II question

  • Write a short note on International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice. (150 words/ 15 marks)


  • What do you know about Nuremberg trials, Pol Pot and Khamer Rouge?

Source/ Ref: BBC article and Official Website of ICC.

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17 Comments on “[Diplomacy] International Criminal Court (ICC) : Organization, functions, powers”

  1. hello sir, i have sent you a mail regarding my preparation. Please reply me as soon as possible sir.

  2. why did india not sign ? is it because of its worries over possible prosecution of HR crimes in JK and naxal infected areas by ICC?

  3. u can start a group like SUPER 30…only for dedicated students in civils..ur such a task master that u will hav high success rate..

  4. You could have edited more, so much detail was not required!

  5. for ur question in csat2013… all options r wrong….

  6. my questions are:

    1.y india doesnot a member in icc?? and we have the words right.. that supereme court is the apex court in india.. no one can go to beyond that… is it right???

    2. uganda leader accepts it membership after the arrest warrant against him revoked??? then how can icc arrest him??

    Thanks in advance…

  7. my question is :
    I belong to obc non creamy layer candidate & my date of birth is
    13 December 1980 , according to this date I am eligible for csat 2013
    or not . please reply

  8. Thomas lubanga was the first one to be convicted, na sir??

  9. india dint sign bcoz ICC doesnt include in its ambit “terrorism”. they say terrorism cannot be defined..

  10. Sir Mrunal…When ever I download your pdf file…I got notice that your computer might be at risk if this type of pdf files are downloaded. Is it safe to proceed downloading?

      1. it could be a bomb you know. like the one in die hard 4 movie.

  11. “prosecutor begins an investigation if a case is referred either by the UN Security Council or by a ratifying state ”

    If a state itself is involved in crime against humanity, how case can be referred to ICC ?

  12. Answer for Mock Questions for CSAT 2013/ APFC:
    All 3 are incorrect.

  13. Hi Mrunal,

    The 4th type of crime “of aggression” which was listed in statue but was defined in june 2010.It was the use of the armed force by a state against sovereignty , territorial integrity or political independence of another state ,or in any other manner inconsistent with the charter of UN “.


  14. more function of icc

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