The United Nations first recognized the need to establish an international criminal court over fifty years ago. The periodic efforts of the international legal community finally culminated on July 17, 1998, with the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The treaty entered into force on July 1, 2002, and is currently joined by 121 countries – notably excluding the United States, China, and Russia.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the “first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.” The ICC has jurisdiction over crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The ICC’s goals are to “achieve justice for all, end impunity, help end conflicts, remedy the deficiencies of ad hoc tribunals, take over when national criminal justice institutions are unwilling or unable to act, and deter future war criminals.”