Rome, 17 July 1998
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted on 17
July 1998 at a United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries
on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes
an international criminal court to try individuals for the most serious
crimes of concern to the international community as a whole and seeks to
establish a fair and just international criminal justice system with competent
and impartial judges and an independent prosecutor. Unlike an
tribunal, the Court is a permanent institution, which ensures that the
international community can make immediate use of its services in the event
of atrocities occurring, and also acts as a deterrent to those who would
perpetrate such crimes.
The Statute establishes a Court composed of the following organs: the Presidency,
an Appeals Division, a Trial Division and a Pre-trial Division, the Office
of the Prosecutor and the Registry. Its judges will be persons of high
moral character and integrity and in their selection the States parties
will take into account the need for the representation of the principal
legal systems of the world, equitable geographical distribution and a fair
representation of female and male judges.
The Court is complementary to national criminal jurisdictions. It is not
intended to supersede their jurisdiction. It will act only when the national
jurisdiction is unable or unwilling to genuinely prosecute, or in the case
of referral by the Security Council.
The Court has jurisdiction over the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity,
war crimes and the crime of aggression. With respect to the crime of aggression,
however, the Court will exercise jurisdiction once a definition of aggression
that is consistent with the Charter of the United Nations is agreed upon
and is adopted in accordance with the Statute.
In conformity with the principle of legality, the crimes are specified
and defined in the Statute. A few examples of specific crimes include murder,
extermination, conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen,
attacks against United Nations personnel and crimes of sexual violence
such as rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution and forced pregnancy.
In addition, the Preparatory Commission has elaborated Elements of Crimes,
which are intended to assist the Court in the interpretations and applications
of the articles defining the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.
The Statute applies equally to all persons without any distinction based
on official capacity. Thus a Head of State or Government, a member of Government
or parliament, an elected representative or a Government official is not
exempt from criminal responsibility under the Statute.
Once a State ratifies or accedes to the Statute, it thereby accepts the
jurisdiction of the Court. The Court may exercise its jurisdiction over
a specific case when either the State in whose territory the crime was
committed or the State of nationality of the accused is a party to the
Statute. A State, which is not a party to the Statute, may also accept
the jurisdiction of the Court on a case-by-case basis.
The Court may exercise jurisdiction with respect to a crime through a referral
of a situation by a State party, the Security Council, acting under Chapter
VII of the Charter of the United Nations or by the Prosecutor acting pursuant
to powers accorded under the Statute. The jurisdiction of the Court or
the admissibility of a case is subject to challenge pursuant to
provisions of the Statute.
The Statute also provides for due process and fair trial guarantees for
the accused, consistent with generally acceptable international human rights
standards. The Statute also makes provision for the participation of victims
in the proceedings and for reparations to them.
The Statute contains elaborate provisions on international cooperation
and judicial assistance.
The Court will be based at The Hague in the Netherlands.
|Entry into force: Not yet in force (the Statute shall enter into
force on the first day of the month after the sixtieth day following the
date of the deposit of the sixtieth instrument of ratification, acceptance,
approval or accession with the Secretary-General of the United Nations,
in accordance with its article 126 (1))
Status as at 15 June 2000: Signatories: 97 Contracting Parties: 12