The International Criminal Court: Issues, Dilemmas and Options : Current School News

The International Criminal Court: Issues, Dilemmas and Options

Filed in Current Projects, Law Project Topics by on September 10, 2021

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– The International Criminal Court: Issues, Dilemmas, and Options –


The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent institution whose jurisdiction applies globally with the power to try and punish individuals for serious crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, and war crimes. The court was first approved in 1998 by a Treaty known as the Rome Statute and it officially came into being on July 1, 2002. Although the court has been in existence for about ten years now, it has been found that not a single person has been sentenced by this court.

This research work found out what is responsible for the slow pace of trial; the principle of complementarity and its resultant effect on the operations of the court; the non-ratification of the Rome Statute by some powerful States like the United States and China and other related problems faced by the court. This research has adopted the doctrinal method to arrive at its findings. Primary and secondary sources were used in assembling and analyzing relevant materials. Books, journals, articles, internet materials were used in this all-important work.

The work found out that the court is one hundred percent dependent on States to investigate, arrest and surrender an accused person to the court; the court does not have the means to enforce its own decisions, this is because the court has no executive powers, no police force of its own to enforce its rulings. The court is also faced with the enormous difficulty of carrying out investigations and collecting evidence regarding crimes committed in regions that are far from the court.  


The International Criminal Court (Hereinafter known as ICC), is an independent judicial institution with the power to try and punish individuals for serious crimes of international concern such as; genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, and war crimes. The court was first approved in 1998 by a treaty known as the Rome Statute, and it officially came into being on July 1, 2002, after 60 countries ratified the treaty.

In accordance with its provisions, the court has its headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands. Unlike previous war crimes courts with jurisdiction limited to specific conflicts, and usually ad hoc in nature, the ICC is a permanent institution whose jurisdiction extends globally. Even individuals from countries that are not parties to the Rome Statute may be subject to the court’s jurisdiction under certain circumstances.

When a case is referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council, all member States are obliged to cooperate. However, the ICC criminal procedure is complementary to national criminal procedures, meaning that it may not exercise jurisdiction if a nation is adequately prosecuting accused criminals. Laws and customs governing wartime conduct have existed since ancient times, but historically, few people have been prosecuted or punished for war crimes, genocide, or crimes against humanity.

The first true International Criminal Court dates from 1474, when Peter Yon Hagenbach, a military officer appointed by Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy, was tried and condemned to death before 27 Judges of the Holy Roman Empire for atrocities against civilians committed by his troops. A sustained movement for an international criminal court began in the early 20th century and grew with each ensuing armed conflict.


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CSN Team.

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