International Criminal Court

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The International Criminal Court: a backgrounder

The International Criminal Court (ICC), was established as the first permanent independent international criminal court with jurisdiction over persons for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. This jurisdiction, however, will be complementary to national criminal jurisdiction.

The ICC was created by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which was adopted on July 17, 1998 and came into force on July 1, 2002. Currently there are 110 countries that are State Parties to the Rome Statute.  The ICC is intended to prosecute the following crimes: 

(a)     The crime of genocide;
(b)     Crimes against humanity;
(c)     War crimes;
(d)     The crime of aggression.

The ICC is a permanent, independent criminal court and not a part of the United Nations system.  The ICC is located in Hague, Netherlands and unlike the ad hoc international criminal tribunals such as ICTY and ICTR, the ICC is intended to be a continuing permanent criminal tribunal.

The official ICC website ( is an excellent resource for information relating to the ICC, including current investigations and texts of treaties and relevant documents.