International Criminal Court Current Affairs - 2019
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Philippines has announced to withdraw from International Criminal Court (ICC) citing reason of international bias and held that ICC was being utilised as a political tool against it. It will make Philippines only second country to withdraw from the Rome statute, following Burundi in 2017. South Africa attempted to leave in 2016, but its withdrawal was revoked by UN.
Philippines had ratified Rome statute related to Hague-based ICC in 2011. Its ratification was seen as big step forward for human rights in Asia. Now its withdrawal is seen as blow for international accountability in the region.
The ICC in February 2018 had announced that it was launching preliminary examination of President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody anti-drug crackdown that has drawn international concern. It is clamed that nearly 4,000 drug suspects were killed as part of campaign, while human rights groups claim the toll is around three times the numbers given by authorities.
International Criminal Court (ICC)
ICC is the world’s first intergovernmental legal body with permanent international jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is based in The Hague, Netherlands. It began its functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that Rome Statute entered into force. It has 123 member states (India is not its member). The Rome Statute is multilateral treaty which serves as ICC’s foundational and governing document. India has not signed Rome Statute. The ICC has jurisdiction to prosecute individuals and is independent of United Nations (UN). But it may receive case referrals from UN Security Council and can initiate prosecutions without UN action or referral.
Note: US signed the treaty (Rome Statute) in 2000 but never ratified it, citing concerns over sovereignty, similarly with Russia. Israel signed it for a short period but also never ratified it into law. China has not signed it.
Russia has officially withdrawn from International Criminal Court (ICC) after President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order in this regard.
The executive order mentioned that Russia is pulling out of the 2002 Rome Statute, which establishes the ICC’s status and powers. However, Russia had never ratified the statue meaning it was never member subject to its jurisdiction.
What is the issue?
Russia was against by ICC’s declaration that Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula was an armed conflict. Russia is also under international pressure over its campaign of air strikes in Syria over the issue of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those allegations. Besides, ICC is also examining allegations of war crimes committed by Russian and Georgian forces during a brief 2008 war.
About International Criminal Court (ICC)
- ICC based in The Hague, Netherlands is an intergovernmental organization and international tribunal.
- It has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
- It was established by the Rome Statute which was adopted in July 1998 end entered into force in July 2002.
- ICC is seen as a successor to Nuremburg trials after World War II and ad-hoc UN war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
- The multilateral treaty of Rome Statute serves as the ICC’s foundational and governing document.
- Currently, there are 124 states which are party to Rome Statute and therefore members of the ICC (India and China are not its members).