International Criminal Court

Source: International Federation for Human Rights
Although this young court has quickly taken on challenges and made great strides forward, it must still attain several goals and explore many avenues in order to truly put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes, and thus ensure the prevention of new crimes. FIDH launches a revised edition of its paper on the first years of the International Criminal Court (first version published in March 2009). December 2009 (pdf). [see more]
After 50 years of expectations and discussions, in 1998 the United Nations approved the Rome Statute, establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) as an independent and permanent body committed to judge crimes against humanity.

The Statute, besides creating the ICC, classifies the most serious crimes against human rights and establishes procedures for penal prosecution in such cases. As a consequence, the signatory States are committed to amending internally their penal laws and procedures, in order to fulfil this new obligation, and to developing measures to control, prevent and combat any criminal attacks on fundamental rights.

The ICC entered into force on 1 July 2002. The ratification was made possible in April that year, after a group of 10 countries -including Bosnia, Cambodia, Ireland, Mongolia and Romania- signed the treaty during a ceremony at the UN headquarters, in New York, taking the total number of ratifications to 66 at that time.

The signature of at least 60 countries was required in order to approve the treaty. However, many important states have failed to sign or ratify the agreement, including the United States, China and Russia. Shortly before the entry into force of the Rome Statute, the US launched a full-scale multi-pronged campaign against the International Criminal Court, claiming that the ICC may initiate politically-motivated prosecutions against its nationals.

The ICC is a complementary organism to national justice systems, and only has authority in cases where a State cannot or does not want to judge people charged with the crimes. The Rome Statute establishes the penal responsibility of troop commanders or heads of State who commit crimes against humanity, including military or political leaders of guerrilla or informal groups that attack civil populations in non-international conflicts.

In 2004, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo formally announced the beginning of investigations on the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Later on, new cases emerged involving the Central African Republic and Sudan, while other cases in Colombia, Afghanistan and Georgia are being analized.

As of 24 March 2010, there are 139 signatories and 111 States Parties (ratifications).
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Friday, January 29 2010
ICC: the International Criminal Court's first years
(Source: International Federation for Human Rights)
Monday, August 10 2009
Saving international justice in Africa
(Source: Pambazuka News)
Tuesday, June 09 2009
Africa and the International Criminal Court
(Source: Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

Official information

Agreement on Privileges and Immunities

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (United Nations)

ICC official website

Civil society: key organizations and documents

ICC: the International Criminal Court's first years (International Federation for Human Rights)

Africa and the International Criminal Court (Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

Arab civil society statement in support of ICC (Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

International Criminal Court: Declarations amounting to prohibited reservations to the Rome Statute (Amnesty International)

Background paper in preparation for the Sixth Session of the ICC Assembly of States Parties (Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

International Criminal Court: Concerns at the sixth session of the Assembly of States Parties (Amnesty International)

Accountability and justice for international crimes in Sudan - a guide on the role of the International Criminal Court (REDRESS)

Implementing the Assembly's Plan of Action for achieving universality and full implementation of the Rome Statute (Amnesty International)

Declaration of The Hague (CICC)

Coalition for the International Criminal Court

Human Rights Watch on the ICC (HRW)

Amnesty International on the ICC (AI)

US interference

Strategy for U.S. engagement with the International Criminal Court (The Century Foundation)

Bush administration suspends aid to nations that refuse to shield Americans from war-crimes court (Global Policy Forum)

Ocampo turns down Iraq case: implications for the US (Global Policy Forum)

U.S. Congress tries to undermine war crimes court (Human Rights Watch)

United States defends position on International Criminal Court (US Department of State)

Court Jesters (AlterNet)

US and the ICC (Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

US Threats to the International Criminal Court (Amnesty International)

The United States and the International Criminal Court (HRW)

US and the ICC: rejecting international justice

The International Criminal Court: the US fear factor and challenges for Africa (Pambazuka)

US punishes 35 countries for signing on to ICC (IPS News)

Washington rejects the ICC (Third World Network)

US could join ICC in 'as soon as 20 years' (IPS)

International justice or free trade (IPS)

First cases

ICC: Prosecutor follows NGO communications regarding DRC (Choike)

The ICC indictment of Bashir: a turning point for Sudan? (International Crisis Group)

Sudan and the International Criminal Court: a guide to the controversy (OpenDemocracy)

The International Criminal Court: success or failure? (OpenDemocracy)

Courting conflict? Peace, justice and the ICC in Africa (Royal African Society)

ICC struggles to reach out to Darfuris (Institute for War and Peace Reporting)

Northern Uganda peace process: the need to maintain momentum (International Crisis Group)

When will the insults to the victims of crimes committed in Darfur end? (International Federation for Human Rights)

Africa and the International Criminal Court (Council on Foreign Relations)

Prosecutor receives referral of the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Official website)

Darfur and the International Criminal Court (Middle East Report)

Statement by the Prosecutor related to crimes committed in Barlonya Camp in Uganda

The International Criminal Court and Sudan: access to justice and victims' rights (International Federation for Human Rights)

ICC: official investigation in Uganda

In uncharted waters: seeking justice before the atrocities have stopped (Citizens for Global Solutions)

ICC's first official investigation: Democratic Republic of Congo

International Criminal Court accepts Ugandan referral (CICC)

Intergovernmental organizations

Responsibility to Protect - Engaging Civil Society

Council of Europe (CoE)

Venice Commission on the ICC


Accountability and Peace Agreements - Mapping trends from 1980 to 2006 (Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue)

Victims' rights before the ICC: a guide for victims, their legal representatives and NGOs (International Federation for Human Rights)

Genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity (Human Rights Watch)

The Witnesses: War Crimes and the Promise of Justice in The Hague (University of Pennsylvania)

International law

Saving international justice in Africa (Pambazuka News)

Justice for a lawless world?: Rights and reconciliation in a new era of international law (Irin News)

Civil society: campaigns and resources

Justice for Darfur Campaign

Victims' Rights Working Group

International Justice Programme (Human Rights First)

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Developmen on the ICC (Forum-Asia)

Journalists' Guide to the ICC (IMPACS)

Message from the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) on the occasion of the CICC’s 10th anniversary (Coalition for the International Criminal Court)

The role of Human Rights NGOs in relation to ICC investigations (Human Rights First)

International Criminal Court: documents, sources, articles (Equipo Nizkor)

Global Policy Forum on international justice (Global Policy Forum)

REDRESS International Criminal Court Project (REDRESS)

No Peace Without Justice Committee for the International Criminal Court

ICCLR's International Criminal Court Programme

Interview with William Pace (Judicial Diplomacy)

International Criminal Court: globalizing justice (Choike)

The role of civil society in the implementation of ICC

Groups launch war crimes probe (IPS News)

Questions & answers about the ICC and the war in Iraq

The ICC begins (Move On)

Gender and the ICC

Gender Report Card 2009 on the International Criminal Court (ICC Women)

The International Criminal Court: a ray of hope for the women of Darfur? (Pambazuka)

Women’s Initiatives for Gender Justice

The International Criminal Court: An Opportunity for Women (WHR Net)

Ending impunity

The politics of ending impunity (International Crisis Group)

Time for Israel to be put on trial (The Electronic Intifada)

Courting history: the landmark International Criminal Court's first years (Human Rights Watch)

Paramilitary demobilization in Colombia: on the road to the International Criminal Court (International Federation for Human Rights)

Making justice matter (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

ICC inquiries jeopardised (Global Policy Forum)

A global web of justice is up and running (International Herald Tribune)

Africa ending impunity for rights abuses (Africa Renewal)

Other international tribunals

International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (United Nations)

Bringing Justice: the Special Court for Sierra Leone (Human Rights Watch)

Uncertain future for war crimes tribunals (Institute for War & Peace Reporting)

International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (United Nations)

UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (Official web site)

Why the International Criminal Court is different (UPeace)

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