17 November, 2016

International Criminal Court - is the system breaking apart?

Is the International Criminal Court (ICC) system - which began with the 2002 Rome Statute - breaking down?

On 21st October 2016, the Republic of South Africa served notice of withdrawal - see the Statement by the President of the Assembly of the ICC.   Burundi and Gambia have also served similar notice.

It is reported that the Russian Federation is also to withdraw - Independent 16th November  and also that withdrawal is under consideration by The Phillipines - Independent 17th November 2016.

Some States never signed up to the court's jurisdiction - notably the United States of America, China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Turkey.  Some other States signed the statute but have not proceeded to ratify it - notably Russia, Egypt, Iran and Israel.

The UK:

The United Kingdom is a party to the statute and, under the UK's dualist system, effect was given to the ICC's jurisdiction by the International Criminal Court Act 2001 the long title of which states that it is:

"An Act to give effect to the Statute of the International Criminal Court; to provide for offences under the law of England and Wales and Northern Ireland corresponding to offences within the jurisdiction of that Court; and for connected purposes."

ICC work so far:

To date there have been 23 cases before the Court, with some cases having more than one suspect. 

ICC judges have issued 29 arrest warrants. Thanks to cooperation from States, 8 persons have been detained in the ICC detention centre and have appeared before the Court. 13 persons remain at large. Charges have been dropped against 3 persons due to their deaths.  ICC judges have also issued 9 summonses to appear. The judges have issued 4 verdicts: 3 individuals have been fou​nd guilty and 1 has been acquitted. ​