Meaning of International Criminal Court in English

Meaning of International Criminal Court in English

According to Abbreviationfinder, International Criminal Court is often abbreviated as ICC.


In 1948 the United Nations considered for the first time the possibility of establishing a permanent international court to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. In resolution 260 (III) of December 9 of that year, the General Assembly affirmed that

“In all periods of history, genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity” and it is “convinced that international cooperation is needed to liberate humanity from such a heinous scourge.”

Due to this, the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” was adopted. Article I of said Convention affirms that genocide committed in time of peace or war is a crime under international law that the contracting parties undertake to prevent and punish. Likewise, Article VI dictates that persons accused of genocide or related acts will be tried by a court of the State in whose territory the act was committed or before the International Criminal Court that is competent with respect to those of the parties that have recognized their jurisdiction..

Following the Commission’s conclusion that the establishment of an international court to prosecute persons responsible for genocide or other crimes of similar gravity was desirable and possible, the General Assembly established a committee to prepare proposals for the establishment of such a court. The committee prepared a project charter in 1951 and a revised project charter in 1953. However, the General Assembly decided to postpone consideration of the status of the project pending the adoption of a definition of aggression.

Subsequently, the possibility of establishing an International Criminal Court continued to be periodically considered, until in 1992 the General Assembly requested the International Law Commission to prepare a draft statute for an International Criminal Court.

In 1993 crimes against humanity and genocide took place in Yugoslavia, which is why the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was established.

Shortly after this, the Commission completed its work on the draft statute for an International Criminal Court and in 1994 it was submitted to the General Assembly. The General Assembly established the ad hoc Committee for the establishment of an International Criminal Court.

At the 52nd session, the General Assembly decided to convene a Plenipotentiary Conference for the establishment of an International Criminal Court, in Rome, Italy, from June 15 to July 17, 1998, to finalize and adopt a convention on the establishment of an International Criminal Court.

The “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court” was adopted on July 17, 1998 by 120 votes in favor, 7 against and 21 abstentions, to be immediately opened for signature. The Rome Statute entered into force on July 1, 2002, in accordance with its article 126.

Essential features

The International Criminal Court, created through the Rome Statute adopted in 1998, will have jurisdiction to try individuals responsible for the commission of the most serious crimes under international law, among which are war crimes, genocide, against humanity. and aggression.

The Statute of the International Criminal Court establishes that it will be a permanent institution (Article 1 of the Statute) and that it will have international legal personality (Article 4). Its headquarters will be in The Hague, the Netherlands (the host State) and its relationship with the United Nations system will be regulated by an agreement to be approved by the Assembly of States Parties. Its jurisdiction will be complementary to the national criminal jurisdictions, in such a way, the activity of the Court will begin in cases in which the jurisdictions of each country are unwilling or unable to prosecute crimes included in the statute.

The official languages ​​of the Court will be Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, French, English and Russian. The working languages ​​of the Court will be French and English.

Legal nature

During the preparation of the Draft Statute of the International Criminal Court within the International Law Commission, it was contemplated that the International Criminal Court could be created either, by a resolution of the General Assembly with which a subsidiary body was created. in accordance with article 22 of the United Nations Charter; or by means of a modification of the Charter of the United Nations; or by a resolution of the Security Council, adopted in the framework of Chapter VII in relation to the creation of a subsidiary body according to article 29 of the Charter; and the one that was finally chosen, the creation of the International Criminal Court by means of a Statute, incorporated into a multilateral treaty.

After considering the different options, the International Law Commission considered that an independent international institution would be more ideally achieved through a multilateral treaty. Confirming to the Court the legitimacy, authority and effectiveness necessary to punish international crimes committed by individuals while ensuring minimum procedural guarantees for the accused.

The legal nature of the International Criminal Court is determined by the fact that it was created by an international treaty. The general characteristics of this institution emerge from its Statute, thus, the preamble establishes that the Court will be independent and that it will not be subordinate to any other international institution without prejudice to the fact that the International Criminal Court will be linked to the United Nations system (Article 2). The Statute defines the International Criminal Court as a permanent institution complementary to national jurisdictions.

The International Criminal Court has a universal vocation because all States can be part of the Statute, as long as they accept the integrity of its provisions, since it does not admit reservations (Article 120). In turn, there is the possibility that a State that is not a party to the Statute, accepts the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in a specific case (Article 12.3).

International legal personality

The Statute attributes to the International Criminal Court international legal personality, that is, the capacity to be the holder of international rights and obligations and to take advantage of those rights by way of international claim, to which the legal capacity that is necessary to the performance of its functions and the accomplishment of its purposes (article 4.1). Its legal personality is determined not only by Article 4 in which express reference is made, but is also complemented by different provisions of the Statute, where the Court is attributed the ability to conclude agreements with the United Nations (Article 2),

The enjoyment of the privileges and immunities of the ICC in the territory of each of the member states (Article 48), the provision of its own institutional and financing system, together with the ability to conclude agreements with International Organizations and with States, they constitute manifestations of the legal personality of the ICC. Therefore, the International Criminal Court is constituted as an international Organization endowed with international subjectivity (Article 4).

International Criminal Court