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International Criminal Court (ICC)

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

What to study?

For Prelims: ICC- composition, functions and powers.

For Mains: Significance of ICC orders and ICC reforms.

Context: ‘Unanimous’ ICC gives go-ahead to probe Afghanistan alleged war crimes.

Prosecutors have been given the green light to investigate alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan – and beyond its borders – linked to Afghan, Taliban and US troops.

Background:

The prosecutors alleged in a 2017 report they have enough information to prove U.S. forces “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence against conflict-related detainees in Afghanistan and other locations, principally in the 2003-2004 period.”

About ICC:

The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

It is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Funding: Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Composition and voting power:

The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party.

Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote. The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.

Jurisdiction:

  • The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
  • 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 Councilor individual states refer situations to the Court.

Criticism:

  1. It does not have the capacity to arrest suspects and depends on member states for their cooperation.
  2. 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.
  3. The ICC has been accused of bias and as being a tool of Western imperialism, only punishing leaders from small, weak states while ignoring crimes committed by richer and more powerful states.
  4. ICC cannot mount successful cases without state cooperation is problematic for several reasons. It means that the ICC acts inconsistently in its selection of cases, is prevented from taking on hard cases and loses legitimacy. It also gives the ICC less deterrent value, as potential perpetrators of war crimes know that they can avoid ICC judgment by taking over government and refusing to cooperate.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between ICJ and ICC.
  2. Geographical locations of these organisations and overview of surrounding countries.
  3. Doha accord between US and Taliban.

Mains Link:

How does the recent Doha accord between US and the Taliban affect the ongoing probe on war in Afghanistan. Discuss.

Icj_vs_ICC

Sources: the Hindu.