The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a constituent institution of the United Nations (UN) that investigates and prosecutes perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression. Established in 1998 by the Rome Statute, the ICC may open an investigation through referrals by state parties to the Statute; referrals by the UN Security Council; or the prosecutor’s own initiative. Additionally, non-party states may extend qualified jurisdiction to the ICC to prosecute cases within their territories, setting the scope of investigations and prosecutions as well as the dates they shall encompass.
The Rome Statute assigns various other duties to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). Article 53(1) generally mandates the OTP to conduct an investigation upon a reasonable basis to believe that a crime is, or has been, committed within the ICC’s jurisdiction. However, this jurisdiction may be proscribed by the Principle of Complementarity, where a state has undertaken its own domestic investigatory and prosecutorial endeavors rendering ICC action redundant. Moreover, Article 42(1) mandates that the Prosecutor serve independently of “instructions from any external source.”