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The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Romemarker on 17 July 1998 and it entered into force on 1 July 2002. As of October 2009, 110 states are party to the statute, and a further 38 states have signed but not ratified the treaty. Among other things, the statute establishes the court's functions, jurisdiction and structure.

History

Following years of negotiations aimed at establishing a permanent international tribunal to punish individuals who commit genocide and other serious international crimes, the United Nations General Assembly convened a five-week diplomatic conference in Romemarker in June 1998 "to finalize and adopt a convention on the establishment of an international criminal court".Coalition for the International Criminal Court. Rome Conference — 1998. Retrieved on 31 January 2008. On 17 July 1998, the Rome Statute was adopted by a vote of 120 to 7, with 21 countries abstaining. The seven countries that voted against the treaty were Iraqmarker, Israelmarker, Libyamarker, the People's Republic of Chinamarker, Qatarmarker, the United Statesmarker, and Yemenmarker.

Article 126 of the statute provided that it would enter into force shortly after the number of states that had ratified it reached sixty. This happened on 11 April 2002, when ten countries ratified the statute at the same time at a special ceremony held at the United Nations headquarters in New Yorkmarker. The treaty entered into force on 1 July 2002; the ICC can only prosecute crimes committed on or after that date.

Ratification status



As of October 2009, 110 countries have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, including all of South America, most of Europe, and roughly half the countries in Africa.

A further 38 states have signed but not ratified the treaty; the law of treaties obliges these states to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty. Three of these states — Israel, Sudan and the United States — have "unsigned" the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, they have no legal obligations arising from their signature of the statute.

Review and amendment

Any amendment to the Rome Statute requires the support of a two-thirds majority of the states parties, and an amendment will not enter into force until it has been ratified by seven-eighths of the states parties. Any amendment to the list of crimes within the jurisdiction of the court will only apply to those states parties that have ratified it.

The states parties are due to hold a Review Conference in the first half of 2010 to consider amendments to the statute. The Review Conference is likely to adopt a definition of the crime of aggression, thereby allowing the ICC to exercise jurisdiction over the crime for the first time.

See also



Notes and references

  1. Each year, to commemorate the adoption of the Rome Statute, human rights activists around the world celebrate 17 July as World Day for International Justice. See Amnesty International USA (2005). International Justice Day 2005. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  2. United Nations (1999). Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court — Overview. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  3. Michael P. Scharf (August 1998). Results of the Rome Conference for an International Criminal Court. The American Society of International Law. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  4. Article 126 of the Rome Statute. Retrieved on 20 January 2009.
  5. Amnesty International (11 April 2002). The International Criminal Court — a historic development in the fight for justice. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  6. Article 11 of the Rome Statute. Retrieved on 20 January 2009.
  7. United Nations Treaty Collection. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Retrieved on 30 June 2009.
  8. International Criminal Court (2007). The States Parties to the Rome Statute. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  9. Article 18 of the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  10. John R Bolton (6 May 2002). International Criminal Court: Letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. US Department of State. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  11. Brett D. Schaefer (9 January 2001). Overturning Clinton's Midnight Action on the International Criminal Court. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved on 31 January 2008.
  12. Article 121 of the Rome Statute. Retrieved on 20 January 2009.
  13. Assembly of States Parties (14 December 2007). . Retrieved on 31 January 2008.


Further reading

  • Roy S Lee (ed.), The International Criminal Court: The Making of the Rome Statute. The Hague: Kluwer Law International (1999). ISBN 90-411-1212-X.
  • Roy S Lee & Hakan Friman (eds.), The International Criminal Court: Elements of Crimes and Rules of Procedure and Evidence. Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers (2001). ISBN 1-57105-209-7.
  • William A. Schabas, Flavia Lattanzi (eds.), Essays on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Volume I. Fagnano Alto: il Sirente (1999). ISBN 8887847001
  • Claus Kress, Flavia Lattanzi (eds.), The Rome Statute and Domestic Legal Orders Volume I. Fagnano Alto: il Sirente (2000). ISBN 8887847010
  • Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta & John R.W.D. Jones (eds.), The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court: A Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2002). ISBN 978-0-19-829862-5.
  • William A. Schabas, Flavia Lattanzi (eds.), Essays on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Volume II. Fagnano Alto: il Sirente (2004). ISBN 8887847029
  • William A Schabas, An Introduction to the International Criminal Court (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2004). ISBN 0-521-01149-3.
  • Claus Kress, Flavia Lattanzi (eds.), The Rome Statute and Domestic Legal Orders Volume II. Fagnano Alto: il Sirente (2005). ISBN 978-88-87847-03-1


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