International Criminal Court (ICC)

© United Nations

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.


Databases and Indexes

  • The UN Library online catalogue UNBISnet contains reports, documents and articles related to the International Criminal Court with links to full texts. Subject search can be performed using relevant terms from the UNBIS THESAURUS
  • The ICC Legal Tools Database provides free access to international criminal law information.

Printed Indexes

  • References to all documents by subject area are published in subject index of the United Nations Documents Index (online version UNBISnet).
  • A complete collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.  
Copyright © 2014 | Dag Hammarskjöld Library | Latest update: 09/02/2017