International Criminal Court
The permanent court to investigate and prosecute crimes when national authorities are unable or unwilling.
The establishment of a new permanent International Criminal Court in 2002 represents a major breakthrough in international justice. The Court will investigate and prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so.
The Court will therefore act as a catalyst for states to fulfil their primary obligations to investigate and prosecute the crimes.
Amnesty International began campaigning for the establishment of International Criminal Court in 1993. The organization was very active in the drafting of the Rome Statute of the Court, which was adopted in July 1998, and other supplementary documents, including the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of Crimes prepared by the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court between 1998 and 2002.
Since the adoption of the Rome Statute, more than half the countries of the world have ratified it. Only one country, the United States of America, has actively opposed the Court. However, its opposition has diminished significantly in recent years as the work of the Court has shown the US government’s concerns to be unfounded.
To ensure the success of the Court, Amnesty International campaigns for:
- All governments to ratify the Rome Statute to ensure that it has the broadest jurisdiction.
- All governments to enact effective implementing legislation ensuring that they can prosecute the crimes before national courts and cooperate fully with the Court.
- The Assembly of States Parties made up of countries that have ratified the Rome Statute to provide full support and oversight of the Court.
- All governments to cooperate fully with the Court in investigating and prosecuting the crimes.
- The Court to investigate and prosecute crimes in accordance with the highest standards of international justice.
Since the Court was established, its Prosecutor has launched investigations into crimes committed in:
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Darfur, Sudan
- Central African Republic
Fact sheets on the International Criminal Court [establish a documents link to AI’s 10 fact sheets]
Universal ratification campaign [link to target country actions]
Implementation of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Investigations and cases
The United States of America and the International Criminal Court
Drafting the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
Preparatory commission for an International Criminal Court
Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court
10 Fact Sheets on the ICC: