International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court refers to an international and permanent tribunal that was established to prosecute individuals for crimes against humanity, genocide, crimes of aggression and war crimes. However, the jurisdiction of this court on crimes of aggression will become active earliest 2017. The Rome Statute whose effectiveness started on 1st July 2002 established the International criminal Court.
Although the proceedings of this court can be held anywhere, the court is found at The Hague in Netherlands. The court is intended to be a complement of the national judicial systems of different nations and it can exercise the jurisdiction given to it by the Rome Statute only when the national courts are unable or unwilling to prosecute or investigate the stated crimes.
122 states are currently state parties to its statute. These include almost all countries in Europe, South America, half of all African countries, and several Oceania. 31 countries have signed to the court although they are yet to ratify the Rome Statute. Russia is one of these countries.
According to the laws of the treaties, states are obliged from acts that would beat the purpose and object of this treaty until when they made a declaration that they no longer intend to be party to this treaty. Three of the 31 states, the United States, Sudan and Israel have written to the Secretary General of the United Nations informing him that they do not want to be member states. Thus, they are no longer obliged legally by the signature of their representatives to the Statute.
41 member states of the United Nations are yet to ratify, sign or accede to Rome Statute. Such states include India and China that are critical to the International Criminal Court. Ukraine is considered to be a non-ratifying signatory of the court. It accepted the jurisdiction of the court for limited duration ranging from 2013 to 2014.
Palestinian National Authority accepted the Court’s jurisdiction formally on 21st January 2009. However, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court declared that he was unable to determine whether Palestine was a state for Rome Statute’s purposes and therefore referred the decision to the UN. On 29th November 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted in favor of Palestine recognizing it as one of the non-member observer states.
Since its establishment, the International Criminal Court has started investigations on eight cases all of which are from Africa. Nevertheless, it has been accused by various organizations including African Union which accuse it of targeting Africa cases.
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