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International Criminal Court

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

International Criminal Court:


Context:

The International Criminal Court convicted a former commander (Dominic Ongwen) in the notorious Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army of dozens of war crimes and crimes against humanity ranging from multiple murders to forced marriages.

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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 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.

Criticisms:

  • It does not have the capacity to arrest suspects and depends on member states for their cooperation.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.

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InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between ICJ and ICC.
  2. Geographical locations of these organisations.
  3. What is Rome statute?
  4. Orders of ICC.
  5. What happens when its orders are not implemented?

Mains Link:

Write a note on ICC.

Sources: the Hindu.