Introduction to the International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court, ICC, is the first ever permanent, international criminal court and is based in The Hague. The need for such a court was first recognised after the Second World War¸ when the Allied forces set up the Nuremberg trials to try Nazi leaders for war crimes.

The Rome Treaty which created the ICC was signed in July 1998, but the court could only begin to function when 60 countries had ratified the treaty. This took place on July 1, 2002.

The ICC's mandate is to investigate and try those accused of the following crimes:

  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • War crimes

The crime of aggression will be added to this list once a definition has been agreed and incorporated into the Rome Statute. A working group is looking at this with a view to developing a provision in time for a review of the Rome Statute in 2009.

This introduction to the ICC and its work was researched and written by Caroline Tosh.