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International Criminal Court

Selected extracts from documents

UN Website

Statute: (Official UN site)

Selected extracts from Statute on this site:

  • Article 6    Genocide
  • Article 7    Crimes against humanity
  • Article 8    War Crimes
  • Article 15   Prosecutor
  • Article 36    Qualifications, nomination and election of judges
  • Article 44    Staff
Rules of Procedure and Evidence

Elements of Crimes


(Emphasis added)(E&OE)                                                                                   3 May 2001

Article 6


(Ed: See also Elements of Crimes for interpretation)

            For the purpose of this Statute, "genocide" means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

            (a)     Killing members of the group;

            (b)     Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

            (c)     Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

            (d)     Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

            (e)     Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article 7

                                     Crimes against humanity

(Ed: See also Elements of Crimes for interpretation)

1.         For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

            (a)     Murder;

            (b)     Extermination;

            (c)    Enslavement;

            (d)     Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

            (e)     Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

            (f)    Torture;

            (g)     Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitutionforced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;

            (h)    Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

            (i)     Enforced disappearance of persons;

            (j)     The crime of apartheid;

            (k)    Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

2.         For the purpose of paragraph 1:

            (a)     "Attack directed against any civilian population" means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts referred to in paragraph 1 against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack;

            (b)     "Extermination" includes the intentional infliction of conditions of life, inter alia the deprivation of access to food and medicine, calculated to bring about the destruction of part of a population;

            (c)    "Enslavement" means the exercise of any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership over a person and includes the exercise of such power in the course of trafficking in persons, in particular women and children;

            (d)     "Deportation or forcible transfer of population" means forced displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive acts from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted under international law;

            (e)    "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions;

            (f)     "Forced pregnancy" means the unlawful confinement of a woman forcibly made pregnant, with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of any population or carrying out other grave violations of international law. This definition shall not in any way be interpreted as affecting national laws relating to pregnancy;

            (g)    "Persecution" means the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights contrary to international law by reason of the identity of the group or collectivity;

            (h)     "The crime of apartheid" means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime;

            (i)     "Enforced disappearance of persons" means the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a
prolonged period of time.

3.         For the purpose of this Statute, it is understood that the term "gender" refers to the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society. The term "gender" does not indicate any meaning different from the above.

Article 8

                                          War crimes

(Ed: See also Elements of Crimes for interpretation)

1.         The Court shall have jurisdiction in respect of war crimes in particular when committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of such crimes.

2.         For the purpose of this Statute, "war crimes" means:

            (a)     Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention:

                    (i)     Wilful killing;

                    (ii)     Torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments;

                    (iii)     Wilfully causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or health;

                    (iv)     Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly;

                    (v)     Compelling a prisoner of war or other protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power;

                    (vi)     Wilfully depriving a prisoner of war or other protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial;

                    (vii)     Unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement;

                    (viii)     Taking of hostages.

            (b)     Other serious violations of the laws and customs applicable in international armed conflict, within the established framework of international law, namely, any of the following acts:

                     (i)     Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities;

                    (ii)     Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives;

                    (iii)     Intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, material, units or vehicles involved in a humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping mission in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, as long as they are entitled to the protection given to civilians or civilian objects under the international law of armed conflict;

                    (iv)     Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;

                    (v)     Attacking or bombarding, by whatever means, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings which are undefended and which are not military objectives;

                    (vi)     Killing or wounding a combatant who, having laid down his arms or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;

                    (vii)     Making improper use of a flag of truce, of the flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy or of the United Nations, as well as of the distinctive emblems of the Geneva Conventions, resulting in death or serious personal injury;

                    (viii)     The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies, or the deportation or transfer of all or parts of the population of the occupied territory within or outside this territory;

Article 15


1.         The Prosecutor may initiate investigations proprio motu* on the basis of information on crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

(Ed: proprio moto = Of one's own motion; on one's own initiative; that is without compulsion or suggestion from others. (Wyld: Universal Dictionary))

Article 36

Qualifications, nomination and election of judges

3.         (a)     The judges shall be chosen from among persons of high moral character, impartiality and integrity who possess the qualifications required in their respective States for appointment to the highest judicial offices.

            (b)     Every candidate for election to the Court shall:

                    (i)     Have established competence in criminal law and procedure, and the necessary relevant experience, whether as judge, prosecutor, advocate or in other similar capacity, in criminal proceedings; or

                    (ii)     Have established competence in relevant areas of international law such as international humanitarian law and the law of human rights, and extensive experience in a professional legal capacity which is of relevance to the judicial work of the Court;

            (c)     Every candidate for election to the Court shall have an excellent knowledge of and be fluent in at least one of the working languages of the Court.

4.         (a)     Nominations of candidates for election to the Court may be made by any State Party to this Statute, and shall be made either:

                      (i)     By the procedure for the nomination of candidates for appointment to the highest judicial offices in the State in question; or

                    (ii)     By the procedure provided for the nomination of candidates for the International Court of Justice in the Statute of that Court.

            Nominations shall be accompanied by a statement in the necessary detail specifying how the candidate fulfils the requirements of paragraph 3.

            (b)    Each State Party may put forward one candidate for any given election who need not necessarily be a national of that State Party but shall in any case be a national of a State Party.

            (c)     The Assembly of States Parties may decide to establish, if appropriate, an Advisory Committee on nominations. In that event, the Committee's composition and mandate shall be established by the Assembly of States Parties.


6.         (a)     The judges shall be elected by secret ballot at a meeting of the Assembly of States Parties convened for that purpose under article 112. Subject to paragraph 7, the persons elected to the Court shall be the 18 candidates who obtain the highest number of votes and a two-thirds majority of the States Parties present and voting.


Article 44


1.         The Prosecutor and the Registrar shall appoint such qualified staff as may be required to their respective offices. In the case of the Prosecutor, this shall include the appointment of investigators.

2.         In the employment of staff, the Prosecutor and the Registrar shall ensure the highest standards of efficiency, competency and integrity, and shall have regard, mutatis mutandis, to the criteria set forth in article 36, paragraph 8.

3.         The Registrar, with the agreement of the Presidency and the Prosecutor, shall propose Staff Regulations which include the terms and conditions upon which the staff of the Court shall be appointed, remunerated and dismissed. The Staff Regulations shall be approved by the Assembly of States Parties.

4.         The Court may, in exceptional circumstances, employ the expertise of gratis personnel offered by States Parties, intergovernmental organizations or non-governmental organizations to assist with the work of any of the organs of the Court. The Prosecutor may accept any such offer on behalf of the Office of the Prosecutor. Such gratis personnel shall be employed in accordance with guidelines to be established by the Assembly of States Parties.

(Ed: The acceptance of "gratis personnel" from any source not clearly accountable to the public is not an acceptable practice.

 NGO's in particular are a concern here.  However well-motivated many may well be, - but not all are - they are by and large privately-run organisations susceptible to accepting donations from private foundations and funds.

Accountablity is the issue.  How is the public to be assured that no private agenda is being pursued by private donors, reaching the ICC directly or indirectly?

The possible agendas of donor State Parties, and intergovernmental organisations is also a concern.

The practice is not new to the UN.  For instance, the UN High Commission for Human Rights receives two-thirds of its £44m budget from external sources. (Irish Times, 21 March 01).

Another UN practice, we believe, is for an external party to supply personnel gratis for say a year.  Subsequently, the same personnel may be found as an employee, now paid by the UN!  (We have no information, one way or another, to indicate whether or not this practice extended to the UNHCHR).


Though having its share of dedicated people, the UN is an organisation much in need of reform  )


4 May 2001