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The Rome Statute

Final Act on the Establishment of the ICC

Ratification Status

The Rules of Procedure and Evidence

The Elements of Crimes

The Regulation of the Court

The Regulations of the Office of the Prosecutor

The Regulations of the Registry
   Revision 1 (version in force)

The Code of Professional Conduct for Counsel

The Code of Judicial Ethics

Staff rules of the International Criminal Court

Staff Regulations

Financial Regulations and Rules

The Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC

Negotiated Relationship Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the United Nations

Headquarters Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the Host State


About the Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  The ICC is based on a treaty, joined by 103 countries.

The ICC is a court of last resort.  It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine, for example if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility.  In addition, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes. 

In all of its activities, the ICC observes the highest standards of fairness and due process.  The jurisdiction and functioning of the ICC are governed by the Rome Statute.

International Criminal Court: About the Court

Establishment of the Court

The International Criminal Court was established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, so called because it was adopted in Rome, Italy on 17 July 1998 by the United Nations Diplomatic Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court.  The Rome Statute is an international treaty, binding only on those States which formally express their consent to be bound by its provisions.  These States then become “Parties” to the Statute.  In accordance with its terms, the Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002, once 60 States had become Parties.  Today, 103 States have become Parties to the Statute.  The States Parties meet in the Assembly of States Parties which is the management oversight and legislative body of the Court.

Following the adoption of the Rome Statute, the United Nations convened the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.   As with the Rome Conference, all States were invited to participate in the Preparatory Commission.  Among its achievements, the Preparatory Commission reached consensus on the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and the Elements of Crimes.  These two texts were subsequently adopted by the Assembly of States Parties.  Together with the Rome Statute and the Regulations of the Court adopted by the judges, they comprise the Court’s basic legal texts, setting out its structure, jurisdiction and functions.

International Criminal Court: Establishment of the Court

Assembly of States Parties

The Assembly of States Parties is the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court.

It is composed of representatives of the States that have ratified and acceded to the Rome Statute. Each State Party is represented by a representative who is proposed to the Credential Committee by the Head Of State of government or the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Chapter IV of the Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of States Parties).

The Assembly of States Parties has a Bureau, consisting of a President, two Vice Presidents and 18 members elected by the Assembly for a three-year term, taking into consideration principles of equitable geographic distribution and adequate representation of the principal legal systems of the world.

On its second session in September 2003 the Assembly of States Parties decided to establish the Permanent Secretariat (ICC-ASP/2/L.5).

The Assembly of States Parties decides on various items, such as the adoption of normative texts and of the budget, the election of the judges and of the Prosecutor and the Deputy Prosecutor(s) .

According to article 112 (7), each State Party has one vote and every effort has to be made to reach decisions by consensus both in the Assembly and the Bureau. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are taken by vote.

International Criminal Court: Assembly of States Parties