International Criminal Court

  • IASbaba
  • March 5, 2022
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International Criminal Court

Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations

Context: The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague announced that it would open an investigation into possible war crimes or crimes against humanity in Ukraine.

‘Laws of war’

  • There are specific international standards for war crimes, which are not to be confused with crimes against humanity.
  • War crimes are defined as serious violations of humanitarian laws during a conflict. 
    • The definition, established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is derived from the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
    • It is based on the idea that individuals can be held liable for the actions of a state or its military.
  • The UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect separates war crimes from genocide and crimes against humanity. 
    • War crimes are defined as occurring in a domestic conflict or a war between two states, while genocide and crimes against humanity can happen in peacetime or during the unilateral aggression of a military towards a group of unarmed people.
  • Examples: The taking of hostages, willful killings, torture or inhuman treatment of prisoners of war, and forcing children to fight.

International Criminal Court

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that sits in The Hague, Netherlands
  • The ICC is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. 
  • It is intended to complement existing national judicial systems.
  • It may exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals. 
  • The ICC lacks universal territorial jurisdiction and may only investigate and prosecute crimes committed within member states, crimes committed by nationals of member states, or crimes in situations referred to the Court by the United Nations Security Council.

News Source: IE

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