International Criminal Court
About the Court
• The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court which has a mandate to try individuals rather than States and to hold them accountable for the most serious crimes of concern to the international community - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and, eventually, the crime of aggression. Although the Statute provides that the Court will not exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression until such time as the states parties agree on a definition of the crime and set out the conditions under which it may be prosecuted.
• The entire premise of the Court is based on the principle of complementarily, which means that the Court can only exercise its jurisdiction when a national court is unable or unwilling to genuinely do so itself. The first priority always goes to national courts. The International Criminal Court is in no way meant to replace the authority of national courts. But there may be times when a State's court system collapses and ceases to function. Similarly, there may be governments that condone or participate in an atrocity themselves, or officials may be reluctant to prosecute someone in a position of great power and authority.
The Court can exercise its jurisdiction only under the following limited circumstances:
o where the person accused of committing a crime is a national of a state party (or where the person's state has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court);
o Where the alleged crime was committed on the territory of a state party (or where the state on whose territory the crime was committed has accepted the jurisdiction of the Court); or
o Where a situation is referred to the Court by the UN Security.
Conditions required for the Court to act
• There are clear conditions specified in the Rome Statute under which the Court can exercise its jurisdiction, as well as specific requirements as to when the Court can do so. There are many safeguards to prevent frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions from taking place, with ample, repetitive opportunities for challenges.
• When a State ratifies the Statute, it agrees to accept the jurisdiction of the Court over the crimes listed in the Statute. The Court may exercise its jurisdiction in situations that meet one of the following conditions:
o One or more of the parties involved is a State Party; the accused is a national of a State Party; the crime is committed on the territory of a State Party;
o Or a State not party to the Statute may decide to accept the court's jurisdiction over a specific crime that has been committed within its territory, or by its national.
• But these conditions do not apply when the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, refers a situation to the Prosecutor.
• But something else must happen first, before the Court can act:
o Either a State Party refers a "situation" to the Prosecutor;
o The Security Council refers a "situation" to the Prosecutor;
o Or the Prosecutor initiates an investigation on his own authority, as set out in the Statute.
The Court's jurisdiction does not apply retroactively: it can only prosecute crimes committed on or after 1 July 2002 (the date on which the Rome Statute entered into force). Where a state becomes party to the Rome Statute after that date, the Court can exercise jurisdiction automatically with respect to crimes committed after the statute enters into force for that state.
Why The Russian Federation CANNOT take a claim in ICC
Since the Russian Federation is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and this legal document is not binding upon it, the Russian Federation cannot sue in ICC due to the fact, that according to the Rome Statue, for the Court to exercise its jurisdiction, the suing State should be the State Party to the Statute. Accordingly, the Russian Federation’s wish to take a claim in ICC is without any logic.