SERVICES > INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION > INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT

I) Establishment of the Court

The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so called because it was adopted in Rome, Italy on 17 July 1998 by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.
The Rome Statute is an international treaty, binding only on those States which formally express their consent to be bound by its provisions. These States then become "Parties" to the Statute.

In accordance with its terms, the Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002, once 60 States had become Parties. As of 1 May 2013, 122 States are Parties to the Rome Statute. The States Parties meet in the Assembly of States Parties which is the management oversight and legislative body of the Court.
Following the adoption of the Rome Statute, the United Nations convened the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court. As with the Rome Conference, all States were invited to participate in the Preparatory Commission.
Among its achievements, the Preparatory Commission reached consensus on the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of Crimes. These two texts were subsequently adopted by the Assembly of States Parties. Together with the Rome Statute and the Regulations of the Court adopted by the judges, they comprise the Court’s basic legal texts, setting out its structure, jurisdiction and functions.

II) Content of Rome Statute
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of 1 May 2013, 122 states will be party to the statute. Among other things, the statute establishes the court's functions, jurisdiction and structure.
The Rome Statute established four core international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Under the Rome Statute, the ICC can only investigate and prosecute the four core international crimes in situations where states are "unable" or "unwilling" to do so themselves. The court has jurisdiction over crimes only if they are committed in the territory of a state party or if they are committed by a national of a state party; an exception to this rule is that the ICC may also have jurisdiction over crimes if its jurisdiction is authorized by the United Nations Security Council.

III) Structure of International Criminal Court
In June 2010, two amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court were adopted by the Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda. The first amendment criminalizes the use of certain kinds of weapons in non-international conflicts whose use was already forbidden in international conflicts. It has been ratified by nine states parties and is in force in two of them. The second amendment specifies the crime of aggression. It has been ratified by seven states parties and is in force in one of them. However, per the language of the amendment, the Court will only have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression after two additional conditions are met: (1) the amendment has entered into force for 30 states parties and (2) on a date after 1 January 2017, the Assembly of States Parties has voted in favour of allowing the Court to have jurisdiction. The ICC is governed by an Assembly of States Parties. The Court consists of four main organs: the Presidency, the Judicial Divisions, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry.
The Presidency is responsible for the proper administration of the Court (apart from the Office of the Prosecutor). It comprises the President and the First and Second Vice-Presidents—three judges of the Court who are elected to the Presidency by their fellow judges for a maximum of two three-year terms.
The Judicial Divisions consist of the 18 judges of the Court, organized into three chambers—the Pre-Trial Chamber, Trial Chamber and Appeals Chamber—which carry out the judicial functions of the Court. Judges are elected to the Court by the Assembly of States Parties. They serve nine-year terms and are not generally eligible for re-election. All judges must be nationals of states parties to the Rome Statute, and no two judges may be nationals of the same state. They must be “persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective States for appointment to the highest judicial offices”.
The Prosecutor or any person being investigated or prosecuted may request the disqualification of a judge from "any case in which his or her impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground". Any request for the disqualification of a judge from a particular case is decided by an absolute majority of the other judges. A judge may be removed from office if he or she "is found to have committed serious misconduct or a serious breach of his or her duties" or is unable to exercise his or her functions. The removal of a judge requires both a two-thirds majority of the other judges and a two-thirds majority of the states parties.
The Office of the Prosecutor is responsible for conducting investigations and prosecutions. It is headed by the Chief Prosecutor, who is assisted by one or more Deputy Prosecutors. The Rome Statute provides that the Office of the Prosecutor shall act independently;[68] as such, no member of the Office may seek or act on instructions from any external source, such as states, international organisations, non-governmental organisations or individuals.
The Prosecutor may open an investigation under three circumstances:
• when a situation is referred to him or her by a state party;
• when a situation is referred to him or her by the United Nations Security Council, acting to address a threat to international peace and security; or
• when the Pre-Trial Chamber authorises him or her to open an investigation on the basis of information received from other sources, such as individuals or non-governmental organisations.
Any person being investigated or prosecuted may request the disqualification of a prosecutor from any case "in which their impartiality might reasonably be doubted on any ground". Requests for the disqualification of prosecutors are decided by the Appeals Chamber. A prosecutor may be removed from office by an absolute majority of the states parties if he or she "is found to have committed serious misconduct or a serious breach of his or her duties" or is unable to exercise his or her functions. However, critics of the Court argue that there are "insufficient checks and balances on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges" and "insufficient protection against politicized prosecutions or other abuses".
The Registry is responsible for the non-judicial aspects of the administration and servicing of the Court. This includes, among other things, “the administration of legal aid matters, court management, victims and witnesses matters, defence counsel, detention unit, and the traditional services provided by administrations in international organisations, such as finance, translation, building management, procurement and personnel”. The Registry is headed by the Registrar, who is elected by the judges to a five-year term.
Trials are conducted under a hybrid common law and civil law judicial system, but it has been argued the procedural orientation and character of the court is still evolving. A majority of the three judges present, as triers of fact, may reach a decision, which must include a full and reasoned statement. Trials are supposed to be public, but proceedings are often closed, and such exceptions to a public trial have not been enumerated in detail. In camera proceedings are allowed for protection of witnesses or defendants as well as for confidential or sensitive evidence. Hearsay and other indirect evidence is not generally prohibited, but it has been argued the court is guided by hearsay exceptions which are prominent in common law systems. There is no subpoena or other means to compel witnesses to come before the court, although the court has some power to compel testimony of those who are, such as fines.
The Rome Statute provides that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and establishes certain rights of the accused and persons during investigations. These include the right to be fully informed of the charges against him or her; the right to have a lawyer appointed, free of charge; the right to a speedy trial; and the right to examine the witnesses against him or her.
To ensure "equality of arms" between defence and prosecution teams, the ICC has established an independent Office of Public Counsel for the Defence (OPCD) to provide logistical support, advice and information to defendants and their counsel. The OPCD also helps to safeguard the rights of the accused during the initial stages of an investigation.
One of the great innovations of the Statute of the International Criminal Court and its Rules of Procedure and Evidence is the series of rights granted to victims. For the first time in the history of international criminal justice, victims have the possibility under the Statute to present their views and observations before the Court.
Participation before the Court may occur at various stages of proceedings and may take different forms, although it will be up to the judges to give directions as to the timing and manner of participation.
Participation in the Court's proceedings will in most cases take place through a legal representative and will be conducted "in a manner which is not prejudicial or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial".
The victim-based provisions within the Rome Statute provide victims with the opportunity to have their voices heard and to obtain, where appropriate, some form of reparation for their suffering. It is this balance between retributive and restorative justice that will enable the ICC, not only to bring criminals to justice but also to help the victims themselves obtain justice.
Article 43(6) establishes a Victims and Witnesses Unit to provide "protective measures and security arrangements, counseling and other appropriate assistance for witnesses, victims who appear before the Court, and others who are at risk on account of testimony given by such witnesses." Article 68 sets out procedures for the "Protection of the victims and witnesses and their participation in the proceedings." The Court has also established an Office of Public Counsel for Victims, to provide support and assistance to victims and their legal representatives. Article 79 of the Rome Statute establishes a Trust Fund to make financial reparations to victims and their families.

IV) Jurisdiction of the Court
The Court has four mechanisms which grant it jurisdiction:
(i) if the accused is a national of a State party to the Rome Statute
(ii) if the alleged crime took place on the territory of a State Party
(iii) if a situation is referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council.
(iv) if a State not party to the Statute 'accepts' the Court's jurisdiction.

In June 2010, the ICC's first review conference in Kampala, Uganda adopted amendments defining "crimes of aggression" and expanding the ICC's jurisdiction over them. The ICC will not be allowed to prosecute for this crime until at least 2017. Furthermore, it expanded the term of war crimes for the use of certain weapons in an armed conflict not of an international character.

Many states wanted to add terrorism and drug trafficking to the list of crimes covered by the Rome Statute; however, the states were unable to agree on a definition for terrorism and it was decided not to include drug trafficking as this might overwhelm the Court's limited resources. India lobbied to have the use of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction included as war crimes but this move was also defeated. India has expressed concern that "the Statute of the ICC lays down, by clear implication, that the use of weapons of mass destruction is not a war crime. This is an extraordinary message to send to the international community."

During the negotiations that led to the Rome Statute, a large number of states argued that the Court should be allowed to exercise universal jurisdiction. However, this proposal was defeated due in large part to opposition from the United States.[44] A compromise was reached, allowing the Court to exercise jurisdiction only under the following limited circumstances:

• where the person accused of committing a crime is a national of a state party (or where the person's state has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court);
• where the alleged crime was committed on the territory of a state party (or where the state on whose territory the crime was committed has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court); or
• where a situation is referred to the Court by the UN Security Council.[36]

The Court's jurisdiction does not apply retroactively: it can only prosecute crimes committed on or after 1 July 2002 (the date on which the Rome Statute entered into force). Where a state becomes party to the Rome Statute after that date, the Court can exercise jurisdiction automatically with respect to crimes committed after the Statute enters into force for that state

Complementarity Principle
The ICC is intended as a court of last resort, investigating and prosecuting only where national courts have failed. Article 17 of the Statute provides that a case is inadmissible if:
"(a) The case is being investigated or prosecuted by a State which has jurisdiction over it, unless the State is unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution;
(b) The case has been investigated by a State which has jurisdiction over it and the State has decided not to prosecute the person concerned, unless the decision resulted from the unwillingness or inability of the State genuinely to prosecute;
(c) The person concerned has already been tried for conduct which is the subject of the complaint, and a trial by the Court is not permitted under article 20, paragraph 3;
(d) The case is not of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the Court."
Article 20, paragraph 3, specifies that, if a person has already been tried by another court, the ICC cannot try them again for the same conduct unless the proceedings in the other court:
"(a) Were for the purpose of shielding the person concerned from criminal responsibility for crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court; or (b) Otherwise were not conducted independently or impartially in accordance with the norms of due process recognized by international law and were conducted in a manner which, in the circumstances, was inconsistent with an intent to bring the person concerned to justice

V) Crimes within the Jurisdiction of the Court
The ICC is intended complement existing national judicial systems, and may only exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute such crimes

Part 2, Article 5 of the Rome Statute grants the Court jurisdiction over four groups of crimes, which it refers to as the "most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole": the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression. The Statute defines each of these crimes except for aggression. The crime of genocide is unique because the crime must be committed with 'intent to destroy'. Crimes against humanity are specifically listed prohibited acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. The Statute provides that the Court will not exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression until such time as the states parties agree on a definition of the crime and set out the conditions under which it may be prosecuted.

a) Crime of Genocide
Genocide is "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, Caste, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars. While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

b) Crimes against Humanity
Crimes against humanity, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Explanatory Memorandum, "are particularly odious offenses in that they constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or a degradation of human beings." They are not isolated or sporadic events, but are part either of a government policy (although the perpetrators need not identify themselves with this policy) or of a wide practice of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority. Murder; extermination; torture; rape; political, racial, or religious persecution and other inhumane acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity only if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice. Isolated inhumane acts of this nature may constitute grave infringements of human rights, or depending on the circumstances, war crimes, but may fall short of falling into the category of crimes under discussion.

c) War Crimes
A war crime is a serious violation of the laws applicable in armed conflict (also known as international humanitarian law) giving rise to individual criminal responsibility. Examples of war crimes include "murder, the ill-treatment or deportation of civilian residents of an occupied territory to slave labor camps," "the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war," the killing of prisoners, "the wanton destruction of cities, towns and villages, and any devastation not justified by military, or civilian necessity."

Similar concepts, such as perfidy, have existed for many centuries as customs between civilized countries, but these customs were first codified as international law in the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907. The modern concept of a war crime was further developed under the auspices of the Nuremberg Trials based on the definition in the London Charter that was published on August 8, 1945. (Also see Nuremberg Principles.) Along with war crimes the charter also defined crimes against peace and crimes against humanity, which are often committed during wars and in concert with war crimes.

Article 22 of The Hague IV ("Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907") states that "The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited" and over the last century many other treaties have introduced positive laws that place constraints on belligerents (see International treaties on the laws of war). Some of the provisions, such as those in The Hague, the Geneva, and Genocide Conventions, are considered to be part of customary international law, and are binding on all.[3][4] Others are only binding on individuals if the belligerent power to which they belong is a party to the treaty which introduced the constraint.

d) Crime of Aggression
The Crime of Aggression is a crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The definitions and the conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction over this crime was adopted by consensus at the 2010 Kampala Review Conference by the States Parties to the Court.

 

 
UHDİGM Official Web Site © 2016 All Rights Reserved.
Webmaster : Selin Kılıç