International Criminal Court
|International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court emblem
|English name||International Criminal Court (ICC)|
|French name||Cour pénale internationale (CPI)|
|Seat of the organs||The Hague , Netherlands|
(President of the International Criminal Court) Robert Fremr (First Vice-President) Karim Ahmad Khan (Prosecutor)
|Official and working languages||Arabic, Chinese, English (working language), French (working language), Russian, Spanish|
The International Criminal Court ( ICC ; English International Criminal Court , ICC ; French Cour pénale internationale , CPI ) is a permanent international criminal court based in The Hague ( Netherlands ) outside the United Nations . Its legal basis is the multilateral Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of July 17, 1998. It began its work on July 1, 2002 and is responsible for 123 states (60% of all states in the world ).
Its jurisdiction encompasses the four core crimes of international criminal law , namely genocide , crimes against humanity , crimes of aggression and war crimes to the extent that they were committed after its inception. In December 2017, the contracting states agreed to include the crime of aggression in their jurisdiction, with effect from July 2018. The ICC may not have universal, but far-reaching jurisdiction, which is specifically laid down in the Rome Statute. Its jurisdiction is subordinate to national jurisdiction ; He can only prosecute an act if national criminal prosecution is not possible or not wanted by the state, so-called principle of complementarity.
The ICC is an international organization in the sense of international law , but not part of the United Nations . This differs from the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which is colloquially known as the “UN War Crimes Tribunal” . Their jurisdiction only concerned certain conflicts, the ICC, on the other hand, is not subject to any such restriction.
The ICC's relationship with the United Nations is regulated in a cooperation agreement. He acts either on the basis of a state party referring a situation to the Court of Justice, a referral by the United Nations Security Council, or on the Prosecutor's own initiative ( proprio motu ).
The Nigerian judge Chile Eboe-Osuji has been President of the ICC since March 11, 2018 , where he has been working since 2012. The first vice-president is Robert Fremr from the Czech Republic , the second vice-president is the French Marc Perrin de Brichambaut . The British lawyer Karim Ahmad Khan has been the chief prosecutor since June 16, 2021 .
The ICC is currently supported by 123 contracting states, including all states of the European Union . Countries like China , India , the United States , Russia , Turkey and Israel either did not sign the Rome Statute, did not ratify the agreement after it was signed, or withdrew their signature.
In the 2020 judges' election to the International Criminal Court in December 2020, six new judges were elected who were sworn in on March 10, 2021.
The basis of the ICC is the so-called Rome Statute . The Tribunal can only judge individuals and not states.
The ICC can only prosecute those crimes that are named in Art. 5 of the Rome Statute. These are genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression, which are defined in Articles 6, 7, 8 and 8 bis of the Statute.
The crime of aggression has been under the jurisdiction of the ICC since July 17, 2018. The offense of aggression includes the invasion and occupation of another state as well as the bombing and blockade of ports and coasts, as well as the deployment of armed gangs. Whether this also includes humanitarian interventions is controversial among international lawyers, and the position of the contracting states on this is still unclear even after the agreement of the contracting states in 2017.
The ICC did not have universal jurisdiction . A person can only be prosecuted by the ICC for crimes after July 1, 2002 if
- the person is a citizen of a member state (Art. 12f.),
- the act was committed on the territory of a member state (Art. 12f.),
- the situation has been referred to the ICC by the UN Security Council in accordance with Chapter VII (Art. 13), or
- a state that is not a member, formally affirms the jurisdiction of the ICC and the act was committed on its territory or the person is a citizen of it (Art. 12f.).
Victims cannot act as joint plaintiffs .
The core principles of the ICC are:
- jurisdiction and jurisdiction over the above "most serious crimes affecting the international community as a whole";
- the primacy of national jurisdiction, insofar as it exists and is capable and willing to actually pursue criminal prosecution (principle of complementarity of the ICC, only "supplement");
- the individual criminal liability of natural persons , regardless of any official office they hold;
- the possibility in principle of accepting voluntary financial contributions from natural and legal persons and
- the constitution as a permanent institution.
Basic principles of criminal law are enshrined in the statute, e. B. the principles of the prohibition of retroactive effects ( nullum crimen sine lege ) and the prohibition of double punishment ( ne bis in idem ).
Only crimes committed after the statute came into force on July 1, 2002 can be prosecuted. If states have ratified the Rome Statute at a later date, the earliest point in time is that it will come into force for the respective state.
The representation of the prosecution can undertake preliminary investigations to a large extent, but not without limitation, on its own initiative. The attempt to synthesize two legal systems, namely Roman-Germanic and Anglo-Saxon law, is remarkable.
Efforts to establish an international criminal court date back to the interwar period. After the end of the Second World War, such initiatives within the United Nations and by human rights organizations failed, particularly due to the reservations of the two great powers. At the end of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties, the world climate had changed somewhat in favor of the installation of an international criminal court.
Former international criminal tribunals such as the one for Yugoslavia or that for Rwanda were set up by the UN Security Council to judge a specific conflict and are therefore also referred to as "ad hoc tribunals". The International Criminal Court, on the other hand, was created by an international treaty as a permanent legal institution, is not part of the United Nations, but an independent international organization with international law personality .
The ratification of the Rome Statute by a large number of states gives the Court of Justice a high degree of legitimacy. After five weeks of negotiations in which around 160 states and non-governmental organizations took part, this treaty was adopted by the UN plenipotentiary conference in Rome on July 17, 1998 : 120 states voted yes, seven voted no and 21 abstained. Shortly after the 60th instrument of ratification was deposited , the Rome Statute entered into force on July 1, 2002. The court has jurisdiction over crimes committed since then. A few months later, on March 11, 2003, the first 18 judges were solemnly sworn in. The first chief prosecutor was Luis Moreno Ocampo .
To provide a scientific and methodological foundation, the ICC is developing, among other things, an international criminal law database under the name “ Legal Tools Project ” (LTP) . In the medium term, the application of the criminal offenses genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes should become more internationally comparable. Well-known cooperation partners for this are the Norwegian Center for Human Rights at the University of Oslo , the British Universities of Nottingham and Durham , the International Research and Documentation Center on War Crimes Trials at the Philipps University of Marburg and the University of Graz as well as the Dutch TMC Asser Instituut . The LTP receives technical advice from the Institute for Legal Informatics at Saarland University . Among other things, the CaseMatrix, an expert system for the ICC, is being technically developed there.
In 2012 the budget of the International Criminal Court was around 109 million euros . In the 2010 budget, Germany was the second largest contributor after Japan with 12.7 percent (13.6 million euros of around 103.6 million euros in total).
In June 2010 the first ICC Review Conference of the Rome Statute met in Kampala (Uganda). The aim of the conference was, among other things, to integrate the previously omitted crime of aggression into the Rome Statute. An agreement was reached on both the definition and the conditions for exercising jurisdiction for the crime of aggression in implementation of the mandate of Art. 5 Para. 2 of the ICC Statute.
The US sent a delegation of observers to the first ICC review conference. Above all, she wanted “to prevent the prosecution from being able to investigate on their own if they think they have recognized a crime of aggression - that is, military violence against a state that is obviously in violation of the UN Charter. Behind the dispute about the criminal offense of war of aggression lies [...] always also the debate about 'equality before international law' and the question of whether politically influential nations can evade the court in the long term ”. Germany was represented in Kampala by Markus Löning , Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid .
On February 5, 2021, the ICC decided that, due to the membership of Palestine, it is also responsible for the prosecution of international criminal law crimes in the Israeli- occupied areas of the West Bank , in East Jerusalem and in the Hamas- controlled Gaza Strip .
For the historical forerunners of the ICC see: History of International Criminal Law
Contracting parties to the Rome Statute
By August 2017, 123 states had acceded to the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court:
- in Africa 34 countries, namely Benin , Botswana , Burkina Faso , Djibouti , the Ivory Coast , Gabon , Gambia , Ghana , Guinea , Cape Verde , Kenya , the Comoros , the Democratic Republic of the Congo , the Republic of the Congo , Lesotho , Liberia , Madagascar , Malawi , Mali , Mauritius , Namibia , Niger , Nigeria , Zambia , Senegal , the Seychelles , Sierra Leone , South Africa , Tanzania , Chad , Tunisia , Uganda and the Central African Republic ,
- in America 29 states, namely Antigua and Barbuda , Argentina , Barbados , Belize , Bolivia , Brazil , Chile , Costa Rica , Dominica , the Dominican Republic , Ecuador , El Salvador , Grenada , Guatemala , Guyana , Honduras , Canada , Colombia , Mexico , Panama , Paraguay , Peru , St. Kitts and Nevis , St. Lucia , St. Vincent and the Grenadines , Suriname , Trinidad and Tobago , Uruguay and Venezuela ,
- in Asia and Oceania 21 countries, namely Afghanistan , Bangladesh , Japan , Jordan , Cambodia , the Maldives , Mongolia , East Timor , Palestine , South Korea and Tajikistan , Australia , the Cook Islands , Fiji , the Marshall Islands , Nauru , New Zealand , Samoa and Vanuatu .
- 40 countries in Europe, namely Albania , Andorra , Belgium , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Bulgaria , Denmark , Germany , Estonia , Finland , France , Georgia , Greece , Ireland , Iceland , Italy , Croatia , Latvia , Liechtenstein , Lithuania , Luxembourg , Malta , Republic of Moldova , Montenegro , Netherlands , North Macedonia , Norway , Austria , Poland , Portugal , Romania , San Marino , Sweden , Switzerland , Serbia , Slovakia , Slovenia , Spain , Czech Republic , Hungary , United Kingdom and Cyprus .
Twenty-seven other states have signed the treaty but have not yet ratified it:
- Egypt , Algeria , Angola , Armenia , the Bahamas , Bahrain , Eritrea , Guinea-Bissau , Haiti , Iran , Jamaica , Yemen , Cameroon , Kuwait , Kyrgyzstan , Morocco , Monaco , Mozambique , Oman , the Solomon Islands , São Tomé and Príncipe , Zimbabwe , Syria , Thailand , Ukraine , the United Arab Emirates , and Uzbekistan .
Four states have withdrawn their signatures on the treaty. You have informed the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as the Depositary of the Statute, that you do not intend to ratify the Statute:
Several states have at least temporarily announced their intention to withdraw from the treaty (see below: Withdrawals from the ICC ):
In 2016, the three African states South Africa , Burundi and Gambia announced that they would end their ICC membership, but later partially withdrew from this announcement. South Africa and Gambia are still members, Burundi left on October 27, 2017. The Philippines decided to withdraw their membership from the International Criminal Court in March 2018 and officially resigned on March 17, 2019.
Of the 193 member states of the United Nations, 124 have acceded to the statute (the Cook Islands and Palestine are not UN member states), 31 have signed but not ratified it, and 41 have not signed the statute.
The court consists of:
- Presidium (1 President and 2 Vice-Presidents)
- Pre-litigation department (7 judges; each serving as a chamber of three)
- Main Proceedings Department (6 judges; each serving as a chamber with three members)
- Appeal Department (5 judges)
- Prosecution (1 Prosecutor and 2 Assistant Prosecutors)
- Chancellery (reports to the President)
- The registrar (chief administrative officer) has been the Briton Peter Lewis since April 2018. The Dutch lawyer Herman von Hebel held this position from 2013 to 2018. Predecessors were Bruno Cathala (2003–2008) and Silvana Arbia (2008–2013).
|Country of origin||Surname||Term of office||president||Vice President|
|Japan||Kuniko Ozaki||2010-2018 *||2015-2018|
|Czech Republic||Robert Fremr||2012-2021||2018–|
|Dominican Republic||Olga Venecia Herrera Carbuccia||2012-2021|
|United Kingdom||Howard Morrison||2012-2021|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Geoffrey Henderson||2014-2021|
|France||Marc Perrin de Brichambaut||2015-2024||2018–|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Antoine Kesia-Mbe Mindua||2015-2024|
|South Korea||Chung Chang-ho||2015-2024|
|Philippines||Raul Cano Pangalangan||2015-2021|
|Peru||Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza||2018-2027|
|Uganda||Solomy Balungi Bossa||2018-2027|
|Benin||Pure Alapini Gansou||2018-2027|
|Italy||Rosario Salvatore Aitala||2018-2027|
- Judge Ozaki and Judge Tarfusser will temporarily remain in their office as judges at the International Criminal Court after the regular end of their term of office in 2018 (as of September 2020).
The seat of the International Criminal Court was initially on the corner of Maanweg and Regulusweg in the Laak district of The Hague in an office building called De Arc owned by ING Real Estate . The corresponding rent payments were made by the Netherlands until 2012 and then by the community of contracting states. Since this building did not adequately meet the requirements arising from the court's activities, in particular with regard to location, security and spatial equipment, the construction of a new building was planned from mid-2012 on the site of the Alexander barracks in the Scheveningen district. This should act as the permanent seat of the court from the end of 2015. It was financed by a long-term low-interest loan from the Netherlands to the community of contracting states. The Netherlands is also making the land available for the new building free of charge. In April 2016, the new courthouse was opened by the Dutch King Willem-Alexander at a ceremony in the presence of high-ranking guests.
ICC situations and cases
Official investigations and criminal proceedings
There were ten cases pending in November 2016 in which the Office of the Prosecutor is investigating to find evidence of guilt or innocence of suspects. Five of them were referred to the ICC by the African governments concerned (Central African Republic 2004, 2014; Mali 2012; Uganda 2004; Democratic Republic of the Congo 2004), two (Libya 2011; Darfur, Sudan 2005) were initiated by the UN Security Council. The ICC started three proceedings on its own initiative: one for crimes in the international armed conflict in Georgia between July and October 2008, the one for the violent unrest in Ivory Coast and the one for the by-election unrest in Kenya. Only one of these official proceedings, the Georgia investigation, concerns a country outside of Africa. The proceedings against Burundi, which began in October 2017 shortly after it left the ICC, also affects the African continent.
|Situation or conflict||Transfer of||date||Investigation||Cases / Defendants (as of February 2020)||Case no.||Ref.|
|Democratic Republic of Congo||Democratic Republic of Congo||Apr 16, 2004||June 23, 2004||Thomas Lubanga Dyilo (convicted in 2012) • Germain Katanga (convicted in 2014) • Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui (acquitted in 2012) • Callixte Mbarushimana (charges withdrawn 23 Dec. 2011) • Sylvestre Mudacumura (†) • Bosco Ntaganda (convicted in 2019, appeal pending)||ICC-01/04|
|Uganda||Uganda||Dec 16, 2003||July 29, 2004||Joseph Kony (fleeting) • Vincent Otti (†) • Raska Lukwiya (†) • Okot Odhiambo (†) • Dominic Ongwen (pronounced guilty)||ICC-02/04|
|Central African Republic||Central African Republic||Jan. 7, 2005||May 22, 2007||Jean-Pierre Bemba (acquitted in 2nd instance 2018)||ICC-01/05|
|Sudan ( Darfur )||UN Security Council||March 31, 2005||June 6, 2005||Ahmad Muhammad Harun (fugitive, imprisoned in Sudan) • Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman (convicted in Sudan, whereabouts unclear) • Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir (fugitive, imprisoned in Sudan) • Bahr Idriss Abu Garda (indictment withdrawn 8 Feb. 2010) • Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein (fleeting) • Abdallah Banda (fleeting) • Saleh Jerbo (†) - The extradition of the accused has been announced, but has not yet been finally decided.|
|Kenya||proprio motu||March 31, 2010||March 31, 2010||William Ruto (charges withdrawn Apr 5, 2016) • Henry Kosgey (charges withdrawn Apr 5, 2016) • Joshua Sang (charges withdrawn Apr 5, 2016) • Francis Muthaura (charges withdrawn 2013) • Uhuru Kenyatta (charges withdrawn) • Mohamed Hussein Ali (indictment withdrawn in 2012) • Walter Osapiri Barasa (fleeting)||ICC-01/09|
|Libya||UN Security Council||Feb. 26, 2011||March 3, 2011||Muammar al-Gaddafi (†) • Abdullah al-Sanusi (sentenced in Libya) • Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi (fleeting) • Mahmoud Al-Werfalli (imprisoned in Libya) • Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled (fleeting)||ICC-01/11|
|Ivory Coast||proprio motu||Oct 3, 2011||Oct 3, 2011||Laurent Gbagbo (acquitted January 15, 2019) • Charles Blé Goudé (acquitted January 15, 2019) • Simone Gbagbo (convicted in Ivory Coast in 2015, amnestied in 2018)||ICC-02/11|
|Mali||Mali||July 13, 2012||Jan. 16, 2013||Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi (sentenced in 2016)||ICC-01/12|
|Central African Republic||Central African Republic||May 30, 2014||Sep 24 2014||Investigation, preliminary proceedings against Alfred Yekatom||ICC-01/14|
|Georgia||proprio motu||Aug 20, 2008||Jan. 27, 2016||Investigation, no charges so far||ICC-01/15|
|Burundi||proprio motu||Oct 25, 2017||Investigation, no charges so far||ICC-01-17|
ICC criminal proceedings (selection)
The first hearing took place in January 2009 in the case of the prosecution against Thomas Lubanga . As the founder and leader of the armed militia Union des Patriotes Congolais in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he was charged with forcibly recruiting children and using them in armed conflicts. At the end of 2009 the Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui case were also negotiated. On March 14, 2012, the ICC issued its first judgment and sentenced former militia leader Thomas Lubanga for recruiting child soldiers in the course of the Second Congo War. The sentence was announced on July 10, 2012: 14 years imprisonment.
On July 14, 2008, Luis Moreno Ocampo , the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, filed for an arrest warrant for genocide , crimes against humanity and war crimes for the first time against an incumbent head of state, the Sudanese head of state Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir . The court only partially granted this motion on March 4, 2009 and issued an arrest warrant for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Former Congolese militia leader Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui was acquitted of “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” (including recruiting child soldiers, sexual slavery and attacks against civilians) for lack of evidence.
On March 7, 2014, Germain Katanga was found guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity in a massacre in a village in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. On May 23, 2014, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for this.
Uhuru Kenyatta appeared before the criminal court as the first incumbent president on October 8, 2014, three years after the charges were brought and after the start of the trial had to be postponed several times . On December 5, 2014, Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that she was withdrawing charges against Kenyatta for lack of evidence. She accused the Kenyan government of a lack of cooperation and concluded that it was a black day for international criminal justice.
In September 2016, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was sentenced to nine years in prison for destroying cultural property in Timbuktu . Since al-Mahdi confessed and cooperated with the court, the process could be settled within a year.
In 2018, six member states applied for the first time to initiate investigations against another member state; the Venezuelan government has been accused of human rights violations by five South American states and Canada .
In pre-trials, the ICC prosecution examines whether an official investigation should be opened against suspects. If it comes to the conclusion that there is a sufficient basis for the commencement of an investigation, it shall submit a reasoned request to the Pre-Trial Chamber for approval of investigations. The Pre-Trial Chamber examines the documents and makes a decision on the application. In four countries (Venezuela, South Korea, Comoros and Honduras) preliminary investigations have been concluded without an official investigation.
In 2015, preliminary investigations into the situation in Georgia were completed. The Prosecution's request to investigate the situation in Georgia was approved by the Pre-Trial Chamber. It is about the international armed conflict between July 1 and October 10, 2008 in and around South Ossetia (see Caucasus War 2008 )
The preliminary investigations into the situations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Guinea, Iraq and Nigeria continued in 2015. On January 16, 2015, the chief prosecutor initiated a new preliminary investigation into the situation in Palestine. Earlier preliminary investigations into Palestine and alleged war crimes by British nationals in Iraq had initially been completed. The new preliminary investigation into the situation in Iraq was launched on May 13, 2014, after the Court had received new information on these events.
The preliminary investigations into the situation in Ukraine, which began in 2014, were extended in terms of time in 2015. The Ukrainian government has not ratified the Rome Statute, but has recognized the ICC's competence for the period from November 21, 2013 to February 22, 2014 as a first step. In a second step, in 2015 she declared her recognition of the jurisdiction of the ICC for the period after February 22, 2014.
Endorsement of the ICC
The countries of the European Union in particular have endeavored to implement the ICC against the resistance of the USA and other states , since it is an important concern of the EU as well as the other signatory states to ensure genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity also on an international level to be able to punish by an independent court. Otherwise one would always be bound by the consensus in the UN Security Council, which is often difficult to achieve, and by national prosecution. The offenses that fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC affect the international community as a whole because of their seriousness. The introduction of an international criminal court consequently strengthens the UN system.
The Coalition for an International Criminal Court (CICC), an association of more than 1,500 non-governmental organizations around the world , which was initiated in 1995 by the World Federalist Movement , also played an important role in the enforcement of the ICC . The CICC was partly funded by the EU.
Advocates of the ICC emphasize that despite all the difficulties, the ICC has now become an authority that is also being taken into account by states such as the USA and China, while just a few decades ago the idea of a world criminal court seemed absurd. At the state level, there is also a cautiously increasing willingness to prosecute international crimes. For example, Germany has created a national code of international criminal law that serves to adapt German criminal law to the Rome Statute.
Rejection of the ICC
The US government signed the ICC Statute in 2000, but declared that the signing could be withdrawn. Bill Clinton stated that he did not want to ratify the Rome Statute until the United States was given a sufficient opportunity to review the International Criminal Court and its functioning over an extended period of time. By concluding bilateral agreements with the ICC contracting parties and other states, the USA is trying to prevent US citizens from being transferred to the ICC as a precautionary measure. In 2002 the American Service Members' Protection Act came into force , which implicitly empowers the US President to order a military exemption for US citizens who would have to answer before the ICC in The Hague. US authorities are prohibited from working with the court. In addition, all states that are not members of NATO and ratify the statute can have US military aid canceled. In connection with a request for an investigation by the chief prosecutor at the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, against the US armed forces and US intelligence services into possible war crimes in Afghanistan, the US announced in September 2018 that it would be banned from entering the country and imposed financial sanctions on judges and prosecutors in the case of investigations against US citizens Pronouncing the ICC and having the judges and prosecutors at the ICC prosecuted by US criminal justice authorities. In March 2019, the United States implemented the threatened sanctions for the first time, issued entry bans and revoked visas. In June 2020, US President Trump approved entry bans and financial sanctions against ICC employees in the event that they investigate US soldiers without Washington's consent. In early April 2021, these sanctions were lifted by the new US President Joe Biden .
Other states that have not ratified the Rome Statute are the People's Republic of China , India , Iraq , Iran , Israel , Cuba , North Korea , Pakistan , Russia , Syria , Saudi Arabia , Sudan and Turkey . The Czech Republic , which had long resisted ratification, carried it out in the run-up to its EU Council Presidency in October 2008.
The African Union accused the ICC in 2013, a one-sided pursuit of criminals after racial criteria, "a kind of race-baiting" in front. Until then, the criminal court had only opened proceedings against Africans. Against the accusation that the ICC is a neo-colonial instrument, the journalist Ulrich Ladurner sums up in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit : “The International Criminal Court is not anti-African, but it is incomplete ... Criticism of the ICC comes mainly from those who fear it - but not from the victims of the crime. For them, the criminal court is the only hope for justice. "
Human rights organizations also criticize the inefficiency of the criminal court. They base their criticism in particular on the fact that non-contracting states in which human rights violations are committed can prevent criminal proceedings with the support of one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. In addition, some of the most influential states, including the veto powers in the UN Security Council, China, Russia and the USA, have not ratified the statute of the criminal court. Another important point of criticism concerns the selection of the cases, most of which come from Africa, while members of more powerful states have little to fear. Difficulties and resistance for the ICC arise in practice from the fact that The Hague depends on the support of the states against whose citizens are being investigated.
Resignation before ratification procedure
On November 16, 2016, Russia declared that it would not ratify the ICC Statute and withdrew the signature it had given in 2000.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the ICC was inefficient and one-sided and that in the 14 years since it was founded it had only passed four judgments but had spent more than a billion dollars. Russia understands that the African Union has decided to develop coordinated measures to withdraw African states from the Rome Statute. Russia also does not trust the ICC with regard to the Caucasus War in 2008 . The Russian actions in Ukraine since 2014 have been suspected in media comments as the reason. Ukraine is not a signatory state, but has recognized the ICC's jurisdiction over events between the end of November 2013 and the end of February 2014 in order to facilitate investigations into the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and former members of the government. In a first report in November 2015, the ICC prosecutor exonerated Yanukovych; There were serious human rights violations on the Euromaidan , but no crimes against humanity .
Leaving the ICC
Withdrawal is possible under Article 127 of the Rome Statute, but will only take effect one year after a formal notification to the UN Secretary General.
The three African states Burundi, South Africa and Gambia declared their exit in 2016.
South Africa's Minister of Justice Michael Masutha justified his country's efforts to leave with the fact that the ICC's actions violated the law customary in international politics, which gives heads of state of other states diplomatic immunity as long as they are in office. This right of immunity is valid national law and is in conflict with the Roman statute. In 2015, the ICC asked South Africa to arrest the Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir while he was a state guest in South Africa. On February 22, 2017, the High Court in Pretoria , South Africa ruled that the exit is unconstitutional and that a corresponding declaration must be withdrawn immediately. The justification for the judgment was that the resignation took place without first obtaining the necessary consent from parliament. However, since the ruling party ANC has a large majority in parliament, approval can be obtained without any problems. In 2017, however, the South African government declared that it no longer wanted to leave the ICC.
Burundi was the first member state to leave with effect from October 27, 2017. The reason given by the Burundian government was that the ICC was unilaterally targeting Africans (at the time, nine out of ten pending official ICC investigations were directed against African countries). ICC spokespersons stated that the ICC's investigation into the Burundian government for crimes against humanity would continue regardless and that Article 127 of the Rome Statute requires Burundi to cooperate with investigators.
The African Union discussed a collective exit from the ICC at the end of January 2017, but did not find a unanimous consensus. Individual African states, including Namibia , are still considering leaving.
The Philippines announced on March 14, 2018 that it would withdraw from the International Criminal Court and that it would “withdraw its ratification of the Rome Statute with immediate effect” on the grounds that the ICC was being used as a “political tool against the Philippines”. However, according to Article 127 (1) of the Rome Statute, the resignation did not take effect until March 17, 2019.
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