International Criminal Court – The Core IAS

International Criminal Court


  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, for the alleged war crime of unlawfully deporting and transferring children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.
  • While the former relates to the unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement, the latter relates to the direct or indirect transfer of its own civilian population by an occupying power into the occupied territory or the deportation or transfer of the population of the occupied territory within or outside its territory.
  • The ICC said that it has reasonable grounds to believe that Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the crimes of
  • Having committed the acts directly, jointly with others, and/or through others under article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute
  • His failure to exercise control properly over civilian & military subordinates under his effective authority, committing or allowing the commission of such acts, as per article 28(b) of the Rome Statute.

What is the ICC:

  • The ICC, headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, was established under a 1998 treaty called the “Rome Statute”. It is an intergovernmental organization and it “investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.”
  • It is the first international criminal court that is permanently established.
  • Presently, 123 countries are party to the Rome Statute, including Britain, Japan, Afghanistan, and Germany. However, the USA has kept its distance, maintaining that ICC should not exercise jurisdiction over citizens of countries that are not a party to it. Similarly, India and China have also abstained from membership.
  • The ICC was established to prosecute the most heinous offenses only when a country’s own legal machinery fails to act, as was the case in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Unlike the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which deals with countries and inter-state disputes, the ICC prosecutes individuals. However, the ICC’s jurisdiction is limited to offences occurring after it came into effect on July 1, 2002.

Today the Court has:

  • Over 900 staff members: From approximately 100 States.
  • 6 official languages: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish.
  • 2 working languages: English and French.
  • Headquarters: The Hague, the Netherlands.

ICC’s Assembly of States Parties:

  • Made up of a single person from each state party.
  • Approves the ICC’s budget and chooses its judges and prosecutors.
  • There is one vote for each state party, and “every effort” must be taken to establish a consensus. Voting is used to make decisions if consensus cannot be achieved.
  • A president and two vice presidents are chosen by the members to serve three-year terms as the Assembly’s leaders.


  • There are four organs of the International Criminal Court (ICC): Presidency, Judicial Division, Office of the Prosecutor and Registry.
  • The ICC has established several field offices in the nations where investigations are taking place.
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is the organization in charge of inspecting the detention facility where those arrested by the ICC are sent.
  • The fact that it had a cooperation arrangement with the UN while not being a United Nations organization must also be recognized.


  • The ICC’s duties are structured to be consistent with the member states’ current judicial systems.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) can only prosecute a person when the country in question is unable to do so. Instead of replacing national courts, the ICC seeks to supplement them.
  • The ICC seeks to put an end to impunity and ensure that those who commit serious crimes against humanity are brought to justice.
  • It is controlled by the Rome Statute, an international law. The Statute becomes effective on July 1, 2002.
  • It uses English and French as its working languages. English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and Russian are the six official tongues.

ICC’s Jurisdiction and Working:

The organization can only continue its operations in the member nations because of the restricted jurisdiction of the ICC, which prevents it from exercising universal jurisdiction.

Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and aggression are the four international crimes over which the ICC has jurisdiction under the Rome Statute.

The following circumstances give rise to the ICC’s jurisdiction:

  1. The ICC can use its jurisdiction on genocides that occurred after 1 July 2002.
  2. The ICC can use its jurisdiction to look into a war crime if the crime is committed by one of its member countries or in such a country’s territory.
  3. The ICC has jurisdiction over cases referred to by the United Nations Security Council.

India and International Criminal Court (ICC)

  • India chose not to ratify the Rome Statute due to national interests, state sovereignty, the difficulty in locating fair prosecutors, the difficulty in gathering evidence, and the difficulty in defining crime.
  • Even though particular nations do not have diplomatic connections with one another, international police collaboration is made possible via the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

How is ICC Different from ICJ?

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