The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the world’s only permanent international court with a mandate to investigate and prosecute individuals who participate in the international atrocity crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The ICC’s jurisdiction may expand in 2017 to include the crime of aggression.
A multilateral treaty called the Rome Statute established the ICC. The Rome Statute was adopted in 1998 and the ICC began operations in 2002 once the Rome Statute was ratified by the 60th country. The ICC is an independent institution that is not a part of the United Nations (UN), but cooperates with the UN and its agencies.
By law of the Rome Statute, the ICC may only investigate and prosecute when a national jurisdiction is “unwilling or unable” to do so themselves, and may only address the gravest crimes. Further, the Rome Statute and other core documents require the ICC to use the highest standards of due process and fair trial.
Use the tabs on the right to further explore the ICC and its State Parties, jurisdiction, structure, judicial processes, current investigations and prosecutions, and timelines covering the history of international criminal justice (including temporary international tribunals) and the evolution of relations between the United States and the ICC.