“International Criminal Court (ICC)” has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories

What is the News?
The International Criminal Court has said that it has jurisdiction over war crimes committed in the Palestinian Territories.

About ICC:

  • It is the world’s first permanent International Criminal Court (ICC). It was created by the 1998 Rome Statute and entered into force on July 1,2002.
  • Furthermore, it was created on the principle of complementarity. It is only intended to complement existing national judicial systems. Therefore, it may exercise its jurisdiction only when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals.
  • Headquarters: Hague, Netherlands.


The Rome Statute grants the ICC jurisdiction over four main crimes:

  1. Crime of Genocide: Acts committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
  2. Crimes against Humanity: A large-scale attack against any civilian population.
  3. War crimes: These are grave breaches of the Geneva conventions in the context of armed conflict.
  4. Crime of Aggression: It is the use of armed force of a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State.

How is it related to the United Nations?

  • ICC is not part of the UN. It was established by the Rome Statute. This treaty was negotiated within the UN. However, it created an independent judicial body distinct from the UN.

Territorial Jurisdiction:

  • The ICC lacks universal territorial jurisdiction. It may only investigate and prosecute crimes committed within the Member States or by nationals of member states. It also investigates the crimes referred to it, by the United Nations Security Council.

Who are Member Parties of ICC?

  • To become a member of the ICC, States need to become a party to the Rome Statute. As of December 2020, there are 123 ICC member countries.
  • 42 countries including India have not signed the Rome Statute.
  • India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute and hence is not a member of the ICC. India did not sign the statute because of reasons such as state sovereignty, national interests, difficulty in collection of evidence, problem to find impartial prosecutors and definition of crime.


  • The Court is funded by contributions from the States Parties. Funds also come from voluntary contributions of governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Limitations of ICC:

  • The ICC court has no retrospective jurisdiction. It can deal only with crimes committed after 1 July 2002 when the 1998 Rome Statute came into force.
  • ICC cannot impose a death sentence; it can impose lengthy terms of imprisonment of up to 30 years of life. However, it depends upon the gravity of the cases.
  • ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement body. Thus, it relies on cooperation with countries worldwide, for support.
  • The Court also has no jurisdiction with respect to any person who was under the age of 18 when the crimes concerned were committed.

Source: Indian Express

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