International Criminal Court (ICC)

International organisations and bodies that play vital roles in global politics and economics are important for the civil services exam. In this article, you can read all about the International Criminal Court (ICC), which is an intergovernmental tribunal headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Preparing for the upcoming IAS Exam?? Test your preparation with the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers. Also, refer to the links below:

What is the ICC?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal headquartered in The Hague. It investigates and tries people charged with serious and grave crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. It is the first permanent international criminal court in the world.

ICC Functions

  • The ICC aims to end impunity and hold those individuals responsible for heinous crimes against humanity to face justice.
  • It also aims to prevent crimes from happening through the proper dispensation of justice.
  • The ICC intends to complement national courts and not replace them.
  • It is governed by an international statute known as the Rome Statute. The Statute entered into force in July 2002.
  • The Court has about 900 staff members from about one hundred nations.
  • It has two working languages namely English and French. There are 6 official languages namely, English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Russian.
  • The ICC has heard 28 cases until now.
  • India is not a member of the ICC.
  • Each member party has one vote and voting is resorted to only when decisions cannot be taken by consensus.
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International Criminal Court – Organisational Structure

  • The approval of ICC’s budget, the election of judges and prosecutors is done by the Assembly of States Parties. 
  • There are four organs of the International Criminal Court (ICC):
    • Presidency
    • Judicial Division
    • Office of the Prosecutor
    • Registry
  • There are multiple field offices that have been set up by ICC in countries where investigations are held
  • Those detailed by ICC are moved to a detention centre that is safe and secure and the authority responsible for inspection in the Centre is the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • It must also be noted that it is not a United Nations Organisation but had a cooperation agreement with the UN
  • The Rome Statute, grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes:
    • The crime of Genocide
    • Crimes against Humanity
    • War crimes
    • Crime of Aggression

Aspirants can go through the information on –

  1. Violence Against Children – Child Abuse Problems
  2. Violence Against Women

Also, read about National Crime Record Bureau NCRB, an agency responsible for collecting and analyzing crime data.

UPSC aspirants can also get a comprehensive List of Important Committees and Commissions in India for the upcoming IAS exam preparation at the linked article. 

Limitations with the International Criminal Court

There are certain conditions and limitations with the functioning of the International Criminal Court:

  • ICC relies upon the different countries for the arrest and transfer of the guilty person to the detention centre as no special force or police authorities have been enforced specifically for ICC
  • The selection of cases by ICC is very selective
  • Regular checks are not done on the authority of the ICC prosecutor and judges
  • In the past, the International Criminal Court has also been accused of being partial towards the powerful countries
  • There is a scarcity of human resources and funds with ICC
  • It has been accused of being a tool for western imperialism
  • State cooperation is necessary for ICC to function effectively. This factor renders its efficacy low as perpetrators of crimes can take over governments and avoid facing justice through the ICC
Criminal Courts – Definition, Structure of the Bench Difference between Civil Law and Criminal Law
Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Subordinate Judiciary – Facts and Details
Indian Judiciary – Supreme Court, High Court, District Court Contempt of Court in India | Contempt of Court Act 1971

Aspirants can also read about the Subsidiary Body of Security Council on the linked page.

India and ICC

  • India did not sign the Rome Statute because of the following reasons:
    • National interests
    • State sovereignty
    • Problem to find impartial prosecutors
    • Difficulty in collection of evidences
    • Crime definition

Aspirants might like to know about International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), which facilitate international police cooperation even where diplomatic relations are not present between certain countries.


Parameter ICC ICJ
Location The Hague The Hague
Case types Criminal prosecution of individuals Contentious between parties, and advisory opinions
Subject matter Genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of aggression Maritime disputes, sovereignty, natural resources, trade, treaty violations and treaty interpretations, human rights, etc.
Funding Contribution from parties to the Rome Statute, voluntary contributions from the UN, from governments, corporations, organisations, etc. UN

Way Forward with International Criminal Court – ICC

  • To enhance its credibility the court needs to broaden its ambit by including more permanent members of UN and by strengthening of investigations and prosecutions.
  • States should actively encourage cooperation with ICC and support human rights defenders working towards international justice and the fulfilment of the ICC’s mandate.
  • ICC role is very important as international justice can contribute to long‐term peace, stability and equitable development in post‐conflict societies.
  • Having said so it is also important to know that the ICC actively works to build understanding and cooperation in all regions through seminars and conferences worldwide.

Aspirants can also analyse the UPSC Syllabus for the prelims and mains examination and start their IAS exam preparation accordingly.

For any further exam-related updates or study material and preparation strategy, refer to BYJU’S.

Frequently Asked Questions on International Criminal Court (ICC)


Q 1. What is the International Criminal Court?

Ans. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal where the trial and investigation of people charged with serious and grave crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression is held.

Q 2. Where is the headquarters of the International Criminal Court?

Ans. The International Criminal Court is headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands.

Q 3. Is India a member of the International Criminal Court?

Ans. International Criminal Court (ICC) has a total of 120 member countries but India is not one of those as it did not sign the Rome Statute.

Q 4. Which cases are brought to ICC?

Ans. Any individual who is alleged to have committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC may be brought before the ICC. The body can only prosecute an individual and not any groups or states.

Q 5. How does ICC get its funding?

Ans. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is majorly funded by its member countries. Any additional funding or contributions can be done by Individuals, Organisations or voluntarily by Government bodies.
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