International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • It is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal
  • It sits in The Hague, The Netherlands
  • The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocidecrimes against humanity, and war crimes
  • It was created by the ‘Rome Statute’
  • It began its functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that Rome Statute entered into force.
  • The Rome Statute is multilateral treaty which serves as ICC’s foundational and governing document.
  • It has 123 member countries, India is not one of them (neither are China and the USA)
  • The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals and is independent of United Nations (UN).
  • But it may receive case referrals from UN Security Council and can initiate prosecutions without UN action or referral.
  • The ICC is intended to complement existing national judicial systems and it may therefore only exercise its jurisdiction when certain conditions are met, such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer investigations to the Court
  • So far, nine investigations have been opened, and 36 individuals have been indicted. All of the official investigations have been in Africa, and hence the ICC has been accused of selective enforcement of western imperialism towards African countries
  • Why India is not a member of the ICC? The issue of State sovereignty and national interests versus the powers of the ICC, the difficulty of collecting evidence, the problem of finding impartial prosecutors acceptable to the entire international community and the definition of crimes that would come within the ICC’s jurisdiction emerged are some of the challenges that India cites for not accepting ICC’s jurisdiction