What is the International Criminal Court (ICC)?

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What is the International Criminal Court (ICC)? Blog Image


Russia recently announced sanctions on the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor and British ministers.

About International Criminal Court (ICC)


  • It is the only permanent international criminal tribunal.
  • Background: It was created by the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (its founding and governing document), and began functioning on 1 July 2002 when the Statute came into force.
  • Mandate: 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.
  • HQ: Hague, Netherlands.
  • Members: 123 nations are States Parties to the Rome Statute and recognize the ICC’s authority; the notable exceptions being the US, China, Russia, and India.
  • Funding: The Court is funded by contributions from the States Parties and by voluntary contributions from Governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations, and other entities.
  • Composition:
    • Judges: The Court has eighteen judges, each from a different member country, elected to nonrenewable nine-year terms.
    • The Presidency: Consists of three judges (the President and two Vice-Presidents) elected from among the judges. It represents the Court to the outside world and helps with the organization of the work of the judges.
    • Judicial Divisions: 18 judges in 3 divisions, the Pre-Trial Division, the Trial Division, and the Appeals Division.
    • Office of the Prosecutor (OTP): OTP is responsible for receiving referrals and any substantiated information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court. OTP examines these referrals and information, conducts investigations, and conducts prosecutions before the Court.
    • Registry: The core function of the Registry is to provide administrative and operational support to the Chambers and the Office of the Prosecutor.
  • Jurisdiction of ICC:
    • Unlike the International Court of Justice, which hears disputes between states, the ICC handles prosecutions of individuals
    • The ICC is only competent to hear a case if:
      • the country where the offence was committed is a party to the Rome Statute; or
      • the perpetrator's country of origin is a party to the Rome Statute.
    • The ICC may only exercise its jurisdiction if the national court is unable or unwilling to do so.
    • The ICC only has jurisdiction over offences committed after the Statute’s entry into force on 1 July 2002.
  • Relation with UN:
    • While not a United Nations organization, the Court has a cooperation agreement with the United Nations.
    • When a situation is not within the Court’s jurisdiction, the United Nations Security Council can refer the situation to the ICC, granting it jurisdiction.


Q1) What is the International Court of Justice (ICJ)?

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It is often referred to as the World Court. The ICJ is responsible for settling legal disputes between states and providing advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and other authorized UN bodies.It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).

Source: Russia imposes sanctions on ICC prosecutor for seeking Putin's arrest