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The International Criminal Court

The International Criminal CourtWhen the crimes you are trying are international, how do you ensure that everything is fair? Find out more about International Crime Courts, and the criminals they aim to prosecute.

The ICC is located in The Hague, the Netherlands and has jurisdiction only over crimes committed after 1st July 2002 when the Rome Statute entered into force. The ICC is a court of last resort. It acts essentially when national courts are unable to prosecute or because the criminal justice is unequipped or collapsed, or because the perpetrators continue to wield influence over the government. The ICC is a permanent court and is global in its reach.

The ICC can prosecute and bring to justice individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. These crimes are defined by the Rome Statute and reflect existing international law.

ICC cases

Uganda In October 2005, the ICC issued arrest warrants for five high commanders of the armed uprising group the Lord’s Resistance Army. They are charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes. None of the charged men has been arrested yet.

Democratic Republic of Congo Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a national of Congo and the alleged leader of a political and military movement, was handed over to the ICC in 2006. He is charged with enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15 and using them to participate in hostilities. His trial was halted on 13th June when the Court discovered that the prosecution had been hiding evidence that could have shown Lubanga’s innocence, thus breaching his right to a fair trial.

Sudan In 2005, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for the ICC to investigate crimes committed in Darfur. On 2 May 2007, the Court issued arrest warrants for two men. However, Sudan says the Court has no jurisdiction over this matter, and refuses to hand over the suspects. On 14 July 2008, the Prosecutor accused Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and requested that the Court issue an arrest warrant for him.

Central African Republic (CAR) In May 2007, the ICC began investigating allegations of rape and other violence committed in the CAR, The ICC began monitoring the situation after the CAR government and its highest criminal court requested the ICC to do so. On 23 May 2008, the Court issued an arrest warrant for Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, charging him with war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was arrested near Brussels the following day.