What sets the International Criminal Court apart?

After about a year since the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched its investigation against Russia over possible crimes committed in Ukraine by the Russian forces, the court in March issued arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes. Let us know about the ICC


The ICC, a permanent judicial body, was established in 1998 by the Rome Statute. Its sittings began on July 1, 2002 after 60 countries had ratified the Rome Statute. A total of 123 countries are States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICC.

The ICC is based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Its first hearing was held in 2006 against Thomas Lubanga, who was accused of recruiting child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


Currently, the ICC has 123 member nations. About 42 nations have neither signed the treaty nor joined the organisation, including China, India, Russia, and the U.S.

The court has 18 judges, each from a different member country and elected by the member states. The judges and prosecutors of the ICC are elected to non-renewable nine-year terms. The president and two vice-presidents of the court are elected from among the judges. The current president of ICC is Piotr Hofmanski, a Polish jurist Meanwhile. Karim Khan is the chief prosecutor of the ICC


The ICC is responsible for investigating, prosecuting, and trying individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. It also imposes prison sentences upon the guilty.

It is only competent to hear a case if the country where the offence was committed is a party to the Rome Statute or the perpetrators country of origin is a party to the Rome Statute.

The ICC can exercise its jurisdiction only if the national court is unable or unwilling to do so. It only has jurisdiction over offences committed after the Statute’s entry into force on July 1, 2002

However, the ICC does not have powers to arrest suspects. With Putin’s case, the ICC has for the first time, issued an arrest warrant against one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council

What is ICI?

Unlike the International Court of Justice (ICI), which hears disputes between nations, the ICC handles prosecutions of individuals.

The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. It has no jurisdiction to try individuals who are accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity. As it is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate proceedings.

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