Summary information, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

On 17 July 1998, a conference of 160 States established the first treaty-based permanent international criminal court to investigate, prosecute and try individuals accused of committing the most serious crimes of concern to the international community, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, when national courts are unwilling or unable to do so. Regarding the crime of aggression, parties to the Rome Statute agreed that the Court’s jurisdiction would be subject to certain conditions, including agreement on a definition of aggression. Not all of these conditions have been met. Therefore the Court presently has effective jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The treaty adopted during that conference is known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute). It entered into force on 1 July 2002 after ratification by 60 countries. Among other things it sets out the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the rules of procedure, and the mechanisms for States to cooperate with the ICC. The Court is located in The Hague in The Netherlands.

A large coalition of civil society organizations played a prominent role in the negotiation and early entry into force of the Rome Statute.

There are currently 123 parties to the Rome Statute. The Assembly of States Parties, which meets at least once a year, sets the general policies for the administration of the ICC and reviews its activities.