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In the know: International Criminal Court

/ 04:29 AM October 15, 2016

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent institution that investigates and, where warranted, tries people accused of “the gravest crimes of concern to the international community”—genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

The ICC, the world’s first permanent international criminal court, was established by the Rome Statute, which was adopted by 120 countries on July 17, 1998. The Rome Statute came to force after 60 countries ratified it on July 1, 2002.

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The Philippines was the 117th country to ratify the statute in 2011. Currently, 124 countries are state parties to the Rome Statute.

Eighteen judges serve on the ICC. They are elected by the Assembly of State Parties and organized into the Pretrial, the Trial and the Appeals Chambers responsible for conducting the proceedings at different stages.

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So far, 23 cases have been brought to the ICC and the judges have issued 29 arrest warrants.

Currently, there are 10 cases under investigation on the ICC, including situations in Georgia, Uganda, Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and Kenya.

Three people have been found guilty: Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, who was found guilty last month of the war crime of intentionally attacking historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012; Germain Katanga, convicted in 2014 of war crimes committed in 2003 in Congo, and Thomas Lubanga Dylio, convicted in 2012 of using child soldiers in Congo.

Cases may be closed once a conviction or an acquittal becomes final or if charges are withdrawn due to lack of evidence or the defendant’s death.

There are five closed cases, including the withdrawn case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was accused of five crimes against humanity in the 2007-2008 postelection violence in Kenya. The charges were withdrawn in December 2014 due to insufficient evidence.

Based in The Hague, The Netherlands, the ICC has a cooperative relationship with the United Nations, but maintains its independence from the international body.

As a court of last resort, the ICC does not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine. —MARIELLE MEDINA, INQUIRER RESEARCH

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Sources: International Criminal Court official website; Inquirer Archives

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TAGS: Crime of Aggression, crimes against humanity, genocide, International Criminal Court, war crimes
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