The International Criminal Court deals with some of the world’s most heinous crimes, including war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The court is commonly referred to as the ICC or the ICCt. In 2017, crime of aggression will also become a part of the court’s jurisdiction.
History of The International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court was established on July 1, 2002 by the Rome Statute. While the court itself is located in The Hague, Netherlands, court proceedings can take place anywhere in the world. The main purpose of the court is to aid national judicial systems. The court can really only exercise its power when national courts are refusing or unable to investigate the crimes listed above.
The idea of having a court to judge the war crimes of political leaders was first made mention during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. In subsequent decades, a call for an international criminal court was made by many prominent individuals in the military and political leadership roles around the world. It wasn’t until April of 2002 that the Romeo Statute became binding. The number of ratified countries quickly rose to 60. On July 1, 2002 the Statute became legally into force. The first 18 judges were elected in February 2003.
Visiting the Court
The International Criminal Court is open to the public and is dedicated to helping visitors understand the purpose of the court and how it works. Hearings at the court are also open to the public unless a closed session is taking place. The hearing schedule can provide more information if you are planning on sitting in on one. Those who are under the age of 16 are not allowed in the court building. The gallery can seat up to 75 people. Headphones are available for those who wish to hear translations of the hearing in English and French.
Visits can also be arranged for individuals and groups. Groups can be between five and 45 people. The visit begins with a 1.5 briefing on the court’s activities, mandate and structure. If possible, attendees can attend a hearing either before or after the talk. Talks are available in English, French and Dutch. Other languages are available on request.
Visiting hours are Tuesday – Friday from 10AM until 12AM. Visitors are required to fill out an application beforehand. Each visitor will also be required to present valid identification and undergo a security check.
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