International Criminal Court


            The historical background of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is dated back in 1948 when various tribunals in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly made a rational recognition on the importance which would have been attached to the atrocities that were committed in the world war II. Various draft statues were repeatedly commissioned but could not be adjudicated following their rejection during the cold war on the implication of this court. In 1998, the matter was revived by a motion passed by A. R. Robinson who was the prime minister for Tobago and Trinidad. His motion was to create an international court to serve as the legal dealer in various illegal trades in drugs. At this time, the international community was also drafting statutes of establishing tribunals that would make trials for war crimes committed in Rwanda and Yugoslavia. However, a majority vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations that was held at Rome in 1998 saw the adoption of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. (Thordis, 2003)

            It was not until April 2002 that the Rome Statute got to been a binding treaty with its proponent states increasingly becoming more. However, it became operational in 2002 with the mandate of prosecuting crimes that came after its establishment. Its initial 18 judges were reinforced through election in March 2003. It however issued the first warrants of arrest in July 2005 followed by a pre-trial hearing in 2006. In August 2008, the state membership was 108. It has its official seat in Hague, Netherlands though its court proceedings could be administered anywhere.

Role of ICC in war crimes.

            The official establishment of the ICC was to develop a criminal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, genocide and war crimes. As of necessity, ICC is primarily involved in presiding over issues on international war crimes. Accordingly, the Article five that was established as part of the Rome Statutes has jurisdiction over crimes that are deemed most serious in affecting the contemporary strength of the international community.

            Their jurisdiction on war crimes is to create adequate parameters that seek to determine the criminal suits and penalties alleged by various war crimes. The institutional definition of war crimes according to the Article 5 of its statutes is however complex and capturing all fundamental aspects of international war crimes that would be of necessity in creating sufferings to the international community through subjection into various war activities. These include violations into the customs or the binding laws that govern war. This may include though not limited to any circumstantial deportations made on the civilian population to war occupied territories, murder or ill-treatment. It also governs the provisions that could relate to ill-treatments that are subjected to prisoners of war. Additionally, the provisions of the court create room of dealing with killing of those people who have been captured as hostages, and any form of destruction done on water masses, villages, towns and cities. It also addresses any probable devastation whose justification cannot be equated in terms of any military necessity. (Thordis, 2003)

            According to its provisions, various clauses safeguard the interest of any commitment into international wars. Its provisions also necessitates that any international war should be limited to the international aspects that respects the rights of the civilians and their properties. It addresses all those violations that are established as protections to the laws that govern war. Its amendments also dictate the right protocols in terms of norms and processes that should be followed in the war process. It therefore safeguards the interest of the international community on the war crimes that are committed as violations of such procedures and norms at the battle place. Its provisions on addressing war crimes emanates from their significance within the international humanitarian law. War crimes are part of the broad outlay of crimes that are committed against humanity. It captures the incidents such as genocide and mass murder as parameters of addressing the rationale for respecting human rights and dignity (Roys, 2001)

Sources of law for ICC.

            The basic source of its laws is the Rome Statute of the International Criminal court which was the treaty developed through the rule of majority in the foundations and setup of the ICC. These statutes compliment various articles that address the broad aspects of activities that are involved in crimes of aggression, crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. Its jurisdiction follows the provisions of the Article 5 with which it can address the above four crimes that are basically described as serious in affecting the strength of the whole international community. However, the provisions of this statute have an expanded definition into the other three crimes except crime of aggression. The procedure of addressing these crimes is therefore provided by the statutes within the article 5 of the Rome Statue. Other primary sources could be the pronouncements of the United Nations on the legal provisions that may dictate the humanitarian parameters that should be of necessity in addressing matters deemed to preserve contemporary aspect of humanity (Maurice, 2006)


Maurice, F (2006) International Criminal Court. London, Routledge

Roys, S (2001) The International Criminal Court: Elements of Crimes and Rules of Procedure

Thordis, I (2003) The International Criminal Court: Recommendation on Policy and Practice. New York, Transnational Publishers.