Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court .


The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a treaty that established the ICC as a permanent international criminal court. It was adopted on July 17, 1998, in Rome, Italy, and entered into force on July 1, 2002. The ICC is the first permanent international court with the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

Key points about the Rome Statute:

  1. Purpose: The Rome Statute aims to end impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. It seeks to ensure that individuals responsible for these crimes are held accountable and that victims receive justice.
  2. Jurisdiction: The ICC has jurisdiction over four core crimes: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. It can prosecute individuals for these crimes if they were committed on the territory of a state party to the Rome Statute or by a national of a state party. The ICC’s jurisdiction is complementary to national jurisdictions, meaning it can intervene only when national courts are unable or unwilling to carry out genuine investigations and prosecutions.
  3. Structure: The ICC consists of several organs, including the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions (composed of the Appeals Division and the Trial Division), the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry. The Assembly of States Parties, composed of representatives from the states that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, provides oversight and governance.
  4. Principles: The Rome Statute upholds key principles, including the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, and respect for the rights of victims and witnesses. It also establishes mechanisms for victim participation and reparations.
  5. Amendments: The Rome Statute can be amended by the Assembly of States Parties. Amendments may relate to matters of procedure and evidence, as well as amendments that define or modify crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.
  6. State Parties: As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, 123 countries have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute. However, it’s worth noting that not all countries are party to the Rome Statute, including major powers like the United States, China, and Russia.

The ICC plays a crucial role in ensuring accountability for grave international crimes. However, it faces challenges in achieving universal jurisdiction and facing political obstacles from non-member states. Its effectiveness and impact continue to be subjects of debate and discussion within the international community.

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