What is the Rome Statute?

Also called the Rome Statute or the Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court is an agreement that led to the formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The statue of Rome was approved in Rome on July 1, 1998, during a diplomatic session. The statute became effective as of July 1, 2002. The data shows that there were 123 member nations from October 2017. This number is after Burundi made history in 2017 deciding to leave the ICC. The statute defines the functions of the courts, its structure and its jurisdiction.

Reach the Rome Statute

According to the statute, there are four crucial international crimes that are not subject to any limitation by any member state. These crimes are crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, war crimes and genocide. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of the court supplements the jurisdiction of the courts and local laws of a nation. If the country is unable or unwilling to conduct an investigation, the ICC can investigate. The ICC is also limited when it comes to the crimes it has jurisdiction. The jurisdiction is granted only if the crimes are committed within the borders of a member state or if a citizen of a member state commits a crime. However, in some cases,

History of the Rome Statute

After long negotiations, the United Nations General Assembly held a conference in June 1988 to finalize the negotiations and the adoption of the statute. In the vote held during the conference, the 120 states were for the statute, seven were against and 21 abstained. The individual votes of the delegation were not recorded, so the identity of four of the seven is unknown. Three states, the People’s Republic of China, the United States and Iran have gone out publicly.

The Rome Statute was ratified in New York on April 11, 2002, from ten countries. Officially the statute entered into force on July 1, 2002 and could investigate crimes. The changes were made in 2010 in Kampala during a conference, but the amendments still need to be implemented.

Review and modification

Changes can be made to the statute by member states. However, for an amendment to be approved, it must have a support majority of two thirds from the member countries. Furthermore, any amendment will not become effective unless ratified by the seven eighth of the party states except those amendments which seek to modify the list of offenses.

The exceptions that seek to modify the list of crimes do not require any form of majority to be ratified. Any number of parties can ratify the amendment. However, the amendment will only be active in the territories of the members who have ratified the amendment.

Recently, a review conference was held in Kampala, Uganda, in 2010. In the conference, members approved a description of the crime of aggression. This adoption means that the ICC has jurisdiction over such crimes. Apart from the crime of the definition of aggression, an amendment was made by expanding the list of war crimes that the ICC can pursue.

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