International criminal court
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
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:
- States which have ratified the Rome Statute may ask the Prosecutor to investigate a situation.
- The UN Security Council may ask the Prosecutor to investigate a situation.
- The Court's Prosecutor can initiate an investigation.
The International Criminal Court is based in the Hague but its proceedings may take place anywhere.
More on International Criminal Court
- The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
- UN Document: Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (A/CONF.183/9).
- International Criminal Court. Background information on the structure and work of the Court, news, press releases as well as full text session documents and reports.
- The session documents from the Assembly of States Parties.
- The ICC Legal Tools Database provides free access to international criminal law information.
Key UN documents
UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases
- United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
- UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
- ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
- Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
- UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
- Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
- a list of all documents
- a comprehensive subject index
- an index to speeches
- a voting chart of resolutions
- United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.