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The International Criminal Court however, it is up to the Prosecutor, not the states or

the Security Council, to decide whether to open an


What crimes does the Court prosecute?
investigation and, based on that investigation,
The ICC can prosecute and bring to justice whether to prosecute, subject to judicial approval.
individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, crimes
Can the ICC try children?
against humanity, and Crime of aggression. These
crimes are defined in the Rome Statute, and reflect No. The Court has no jurisdiction with
existing international law. Although the crime of respect to any person who was under the age of 18
aggression is mentioned in the Statute, the Court when the crimes concerned were committed.
cannot exercise jurisdiction over the crime of
If those who bear the greatest responsibility hold
aggression until the definition is agreed upon.
high political or military office, are they not exempt
Where is the Court located? from prosecution? Can they not be granted immunity
or amnesty?
The ICC is located in The Hague, the
Netherlands. No one is exempt from prosecution because
of his or her current functions or because of the
What is its structure?
position he or she held at the time the crimes
The Court is composed of three branches: concerned were committed.
the judiciary, which is made up of 18 judges, the
Acting as a Head of State or Government,
Office of the Prosecutor and the Office of the
minister or parliamentarian does not exempt anyone
Registrar, which runs the administration of the Court.
from criminal responsibility before the ICC.
The Assembly of States Parties is composed
In some circumstances, a person in a
of one representative from each country that has
position of authority may even be held responsible
ratified the Rome Statute.
for crimes committed by those acting under his or
The Assembly of States Parties oversees the her command or orders.
management of the Court and votes on changes to
Likewise, amnesty cannot be used as a
the Court’s structure and jurisdiction, which includes
defense before the ICC. As such, it cannot bar the
the election of judges and prosecutors and adoption
Court from exercising its jurisdiction.
of the budget.
When can the Court prosecute an individual
Who funds the ICC?
suspected of committing grave crimes under
The Court is funded by countries that have international law?
joined the ICC.
The Court may investigate and prosecute an
Is the Court able to prosecute individuals for crimes individual when:
committed before the Court’s establishment?
(a) The accused is a citizen of an ICC
No. The Court has jurisdiction only over member state;
crimes committed after July 1, 2002, when the Rome
(b) The alleged crime took place on the
Statute entered into force.
territory of an ICC member state;
How do cases come before the Court?
(c) The U.N. Security Council asks the ICC
Cases come before the court in one of three to open an investigation; or
ways:
(d) A country voluntarily accepts ICC
(1) The Court’s Prosecutor can initiate an jurisdiction. The ICC can bring to trial an individual
investigation into a situation where one or more of regardless of his or her civilian or military status or
the crimes has been committed, based on official position.
information from any source, including the victim or
Note that the U.N. Security Council can vote
the victim’s family, but only if the Court has
to block any investigation or prosecution.
jurisdiction over the crime and individual.
How does the Court secure the arrest of suspects?
(2) States that have ratified the Rome Statute
may ask the Prosecutor to investigate a situation The ICC does not have a police force of its
where one or more of the crimes have been own to arrest suspects. It must rely on the
committed. cooperation of national police services to make
arrests and hand over suspects to the Court.
(3) The U.N. Security Council can ask the
Prosecutor to investigate a situation where one or What is the ICC’s relationship to national courts?
more of the crimes have been committed, even if the
The ICC is a court of last resort. It acts
crimes occurred in the territory of a state that has not
essentially as a safety net when national courts are
ratified the Rome Statute or was committed by the
unable to prosecute, either because the criminal
national of such a state. In each of these situations,
justice system is unequipped or collapsed, or Does the convicted person remain in custody
because the perpetrators continue to wield influence pending an appeal?
over the government.
Unless otherwise ordered by the Trial
Under the principle of “complementarity,” the Chamber, a convicted person remains in custody
ICC prosecutes crimes only when national courts pending an appeal. However, in general, when a
are unable or unwilling to do so, because these convicted person’s time in custody exceeds the
crimes are most effectively and fairly prosecuted in sentence of imprisonment imposed, the person is
the territories where they committed. released. In addition, in the case of an acquittal, the
accused is released immediately unless there are
The ICC will not act if a case is investigated
exceptional circumstances
or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless
the national proceedings are not genuine, for When can a decision be revised?
example if formal proceedings were undertaken
The convicted person or the Prosecution
solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility.
may apply to the Appeals Chamber to revise a final
In addition, the ICC can serve as a catalyst judgment of conviction or sentence where:
and model for reform of domestic laws and
• new and important evidence has been
procedures: in order for countries to join the Court,
discovered;
they need to bring their laws and procedures into
conformity with ICC standards. • it has been newly discovered that decisive
evidence, taken into account at trial and upon which
How does the ICC differ from other courts?
the conviction depends, was false, forged or
The ICC is a permanent autonomous court, falsified;
whereas the ad hoc tribunals for the former
• one or more of the judges has committed
Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as other similar
an act of serious misconduct or serious breach of
courts established within the framework of the
duty of sufficient gravity to justify the removal of that
United Nations to deal with specific situations only
judge or those judges from office under the Rome
have a limited mandate and jurisdiction.
Statute.
The ICC, which tries individuals, is also
different from the International Court of Justice,
which is the principal judicial organ of the United
Nations for the settlement of disputes between
States. The ad hoc tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
and the International Court of Justice also have their
seats in The Hague.
When may a decision be appealed?
Any party may appeal the decisions of a Pre-
Trial or Trial Chamber. The Prosecution may appeal
against a conviction or acquittal on any of the
following grounds:
Procedural error,
Error of fact or
Error of law.
The convicted person or the Prosecution
may also appeal on any other ground that affects the
fairness or reliability of the proceedings or the
decision, in particular on the ground of disproportion
between the sentence and the crime.
The legal representatives of the victims, the
convicted person, or a bona fide owner of property
adversely affected by an order for reparations to the
victims may also appeal against such an order. The
Appeals Chamber may reverse or amend the
decision or conviction or order a new trial before a
different Trial Chamber.