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International Criminal Court

Introduction
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal that is located in The Hague, Netherlands and is the court of last resort to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The Court is governed by the Rome Statute which commenced on July 1st, 2002. Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty that serves as a foundational and governing document to ICC.

A Brief History
Rome Statute was adopted by 120 states on 17th July 1998 and entered into force following 50 ratifications in July 2002. In February 2003, the 1st bench of 18 judges was elected by the assembly of state parties. The court’s first judgment was against Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo who was found guilty of war crimes related to using child soldiers in 2012.

Members
It has currently 122 member States which includes all the South American Countries, nearly all European countries, most of Oceania and around half of the African nations. The Philippines were the last state party to withdraw from the ICC in March 2019. India, the US, and China are not a member.

Composition and Functioning
The Court's management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party. Each state party has one vote and "every effort" has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote. The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms. The Assembly meets in full session once a year, alternating between New York and The Hague, and may also hold special sessions where circumstances require.

The Court has four organs:

•The Presidency which is responsible for the proper administration of the Court

•The Judicial Division, that consists of the 18 judges of the Court, organized into three chambers—the Pre-Trial Chamber, Trial Chamber, and Appeals Chamber—which carry out the judicial functions of the Court. Judges are elected to the Court by the Assembly of States Parties.

•The Office of the Prosecutor is headed by the Chief Prosecutor and is responsible for conducting investigations and prosecutions.

•The Registry is responsible for the non-judicial aspects of the administration and servicing of the Court.

Limitations of ICC
The ICC does not have its own police force and State cooperation is problematic for various reasons. The ICC has lesser deterrence than State courts. It has also been referred to as a tool of western imperialism which is biased in favor of powerful countries. It has automatic jurisdiction only on territories of States which have ratified the treaty or when the UNSC refers a case to it (though it is not a UN body).

India and ICC
India is not a signatory to the Roman Statute because of the following concerns:

•The power of the ICC might interfere with State sovereignty and go against national interest.

•The definition of Crimes and difficulty in collecting evidence

•India is also concerned with methods of investigation, prosecution and criminal proceedings of the ICC. The inclusion of armed conflict in war crimes is a cause of concern for India as it goes against its national interest in disputed territories.

Way Forward
•The Court needs to increase its credibility by including more permanent members of the UNSC.

•States should engage in cooperation with the ICC.

•Investigations and Prosecution methods should be strengthened.


Source: Wikipedia




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