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.

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 27 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.

ICC Limitations

  • It relies on cooperation with countries for support, especially for making arrests, transferring arrested persons to the ICC detention centre, and placing certain restrictions such as freezing the assets of suspects, enforcing sentences, etc.
  • 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.
  • It has been accused of being a tool for western imperialism.

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






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.


Contribution from parties to the Rome Statute, voluntary contributions from the UN, from governments, corporations, organisations, etc.


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