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International criminal court - ICC

The International Criminal Court, ICC is based in the Hague since 2003. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (A/CONF.183/9) formulates the mission of the ICC.

Planning of an international criminal court

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the United Nations realized the need to establish an international permanent court for the prosecution of serious crimes against humanity, including

  • war crimes
  • crime of aggression
  • genocide.

Following years of negotiations, the concept began to take serious shape. In 1994, the International Law Commission submitted a draft statute for an international criminal court to the General Assembly. Four years later, in 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted by the international community. When the Statute entered into force in 2002, it was considered a landmark in international justice.

Structure of the Court

The International Criminal Court is not a UN body but an independent organization with its relationship to the UN governed by a separate agreement. The Court has 18 judges elected for nine year terms. The judges respresent the principal legal systems and the regions of the world, as well as a balanced gender distribution.

Work of the Court

According to the Rome Statute, cases can come to the attention of the Court in three different ways:

  1. States which have ratified the Rome Statute may ask the Prosecutor to investigate a situation.
  2. The UN Security Council may ask the Prosecutor to investigate a situation.
  3. The Court's Prosecutor can initiate an investigation.

The International Criminal Court is based in the Hague but its proceedings may take place anywhere.

More on the International Criminal Court

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library. UN official documents and open access publications, UN maps, UN voting data and speeches.
  • UN iLibrary. UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS. UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus is a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions


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