International Criminal Law (ICL) is a new and constantly developing branch of public international law, which deals with the criminal responsibility of individuals and States for the most serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws. International Criminal Law has identified a certain number of “international crimes”, and it aims to expose perpetrators of such serious violations to personal criminal liability and provides for criminal sanctions that apply to all offenders.

National laws of each States in the world provides for appropriate sanctions for individuals who have committed offences against the law of the State. However, International Criminal Law seeks to punish perpetrators of certain degree of crimes termed as “international crimes” where committed by any individual of a State. The International Criminal Court (“the ICC” or “the Court”) is a permanent international court established 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.


 Definition of International Crimes 

The term “international crimes” is not defined by any universally accepted formulation, legislation or convention but however they are usually referred to as “breaches of international rules entailing the personal criminal liability of the individuals concerned as opposed to the responsibility of the State of which the individuals may act as organs”[1],“crimes that involve direct individual criminal responsibility under international law”[2] or even “punishable acts or conduct proscribed by international law”[3].

The International Criminal Law provides four main categories of international crimes namely: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. These crimes are defined as “core” international crimes to distinguish them from other categories of crimes such as terrorism and piracy etc. which are still objects of controversy among the members of the international community. Criminal accountability for those “core crimes” is considered by the international community of fundamental importance regarding the respect for the rule of law, deterrence of future violations, and the provision of redress and justice for victims.

The above-mentioned criminal conducts are considered to affect the entire international community and, consequently, all States have an interest and obligation to prevent the occurrence of these heinous crimes and in holding the perpetrators accountable. Perpetrators of international crimes may be convicted because of their own direct acts or omissions, or when ordering and facilitating a crime.  This includes those who directly commit the crimes as well as those who, at the highest political and military levels, are involved in the planning and authorization of such acts. Thus, the individual criminal responsibility for international crimes can be held in parallel with the responsibility of the state.

The international crimes have been defined over time in a range of international conventions and agreements, beginning with the first Hague Conventions, at the end of the 19th century, which established rules for military conduct during wartime, up to the Rome Statute[4] that, in 1998, established the International Criminal Court (ICC) with jurisdiction over the four “core crimes” of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. In corollary, the Rome Statute provisions, which represent the most comprehensive modern codification of international crimes, explore the features of the four “core crimes”.


Genocide is defined by the Rome Statute as one of the following acts : (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group, committed with “the intention to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”[5].

Genocide is essentially an attack upon human diversity[6]. The term was crafted with the Holocaust in mind as it is composed of the Greek word “geno” (tribe or race) and the Latin verb “caedere” (to kill)[7]. The basic essence of genocide is the destruction of the cohesion and moral dignity of a group as collective entity, as an element of international society.[8]

In the Nuremberg judgment the Holocaust was punished under the notion of ‘crimes against humanity’, which includes persecution and extermination. Only one year after the Nuremberg judgment, in 1946, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it ‘affirmed’ that genocide is a crime under international law[9]. The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide eventually defined the crime as an independent conduct in 1948[10]. The definition of the Convention was then reproduced in the Statutes of international criminal courts and tribunals, such as the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia[11] , Rwanda[12] and, lastly, the International Criminal Court.

The crime of genocide lies in the attack on specific protected groups of victims. It can only be committed against national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups[13]. Other groups, such as political or cultural groups, are not recognized as protected groups per se[14]. Genocide does not require the actual destruction of a protected group. However, according to the Convention, the enumerated acts must be committed with the ‘specific intent’ of the perpetrator to destroy the group in whole or in part. Moreover, Genocide is the only crime in which incitement is expressly prohibited[15]. The prohibition considers that genocide is often spread through mass mobilization. While drafting the Genocide Convention, the delegates of the State parties decided to criminalize public and direct incitement to genocide to counter emerging patterns of genocide and consider the specific risks of incitement of an indeterminate group of persons (example; through speeches, radio, press or other media)[16].


Crimes against humanity are identified by the article 7 of the Rome Statute, which contains their most comprehensive modern treaty codification[17], as the following acts: “(a) Murder; (b) Extermination; (c) Enslavement; (d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population; (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; (f) Torture; (g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity; (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court; (i) Enforced disappearance of persons; (j) The crime of apartheid; (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health”. Paragraph 1 of article 7 requires the mentioned acts, part of which are also recognized as common crimes by many national legal frameworks, must be committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.

The concept of crimes against humanity retains some features of genocide, such as the idea of extermination. However, crimes against humanity differ from genocide, as while the latter focuses on the collective nature of the victims as a group, identified by nationality, ethnicity, race, or religion, they are inclined to penalize the collective nature of the perpetration of crimes[18]. Crimes against humanity are attacks on civilian populations that are at risk because of their presence in the targeted population.

The basic idea is that, where exists a collective action of an organization that causes harm to the civilian population throughout a widespread or systematic violence, a crime is no longer simply an ordinary crime under domestic law but an international crime.  Therefore, the peculiar element that distinguishes crimes against humanity from domestic crimes is the context in which they are committed, as part of a widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population.

A significant development in international law is that crimes against humanity were codified, for the first time, in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Before then, the conduct of a State towards its own citizens was strictly considered a matter of internal affairs. Nevertheless, in the first codification, the crimes against humanity could not be charged independently of a nexus to other crimes, they had to be linked to war crimes or crimes against peace (aggression). As seen in Statutes of major international criminal courts and, lastly, in the Rome Statute,  the concept of crimes against humanity was then unbound from its war-related nexus and was developed more in line with the human rights tradition. Indeed, Crimes against humanity can now be committed in both the context of armed conflict and in peacetime. The reference to the concept of ‘civilians’ in the definition of the crime is the only reminiscence of the historical linkage to war crimes.

Crimes against humanity could be distinguished in two categories of offences. The first, encompasses the murder-type offences. They include murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, torture, acts of sexual violence or enforced disappearance of persons. Some but not all of them are criminal offences in national legal systems.  They were banned internationally because of their cruelty and barbarity. The second type of offences being related to “persecution”. They are typically  geared at persecution of a specific group of people on racial, religious, or political grounds[19] and may not be considered criminal or even prohibited in national legal systems.


War crimes are the oldest category of international crimes. They are grounded in International Humanitarian Law (IHL), traditionally known as “jus in bello” (the law of war), an independent branch of public international law. International Humanitarian Law (IHL) regulates the conduct of parties engaged in an armed conflict and seeks to minimize suffering and harm. It is based on a balance between military necessities and humanitarian considerations. Truly, in an armed conflict, certain acts of violence, such as attacking enemy’s military objectives, are allowed and others prohibited. International humanitarian law regulates both lawful and unlawful acts of violence reconciling the two different perspectives, on one side, the humanitarian commitment ‘to prevent or mitigate suffering’, on the other, the pragmatic warfare necessity of overcoming the enemy.

Historically, a turning point in the codification of international humanitarian law has been identified in the battle of Solferino[20] and the subsequent issue of the first Geneva Convention[21] for the amelioration of the condition of wounded combatants. The body of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) rules was then complemented by the ‘Hague law’[22], on the rights and obligations of belligerents in the conduct of military, and the ‘Geneva law’[23] designed to protect victims of armed conflict and specific categories of persons, such as prisoners of war, detainees, civilians, and humanitarian aid workers. Nowadays, nearly every state in the world has agreed to be bound by IHL provisions and the core of them is considered as customary international law.

However, only specific, and serious violations of international humanitarian law are criminalized as “war crimes”. The initial International Humanitarian Law (IHL) provisions failed to specify whether a violation entailed criminal responsibility and the “War crimes law” was developed incrementally and through practice in the twentieth century.  Even the Geneva Conventions and its Protocols, by qualifying the so-called grave breaches as ‘war crimes’ , created a certain initial confusion from a conceptual point of view, since the idea of “grave breaches” implies a hierarchy, whereby certain violations are considered grave enough to qualify as crimes, whilst others do not. One of the key prerequisites of a war crime is that the crime is connected to the armed conflict. This is a necessary requirement to distinguish war crimes from ordinary offences.

Where war crimes are established a universal jurisdiction, which entitles a State to prosecute offenders even in the absence of any link between the crime committed and the prosecuting state. To make this principle effective, States are required to establish universal jurisdiction for war crimes in their national legislation. The basis for the assertion of universal jurisdiction over war crimes is found in both treaty law and in customary international law. The International Criminal Court Statute consider the war crimes in article 8 providing a comprehensive list of them and containing an additional element that specifies that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction when war crimes are “committed as part of a plan or policy or as part of a large-scale commission of crimes.”

Many war crimes can be traced back to the violation of certain fundamental principles of international humanitarian law grounded in the protection of persons and property[24].

  1. A first fundamental principle is the principle of protection of non-combatants that requires parties to an armed conflict to treat civilians, prisoners of war and wounded or sick former combatants humanely.
  2. A second key principle is the principle of distinction. It always requires parties to a conflict to distinguish between civilians and combatants and direct the attacks only against combatants and military objects. They must not be directed against civilians or civilian objects, such as churches, hospitals or private residences that are not used for military purposes. The International Criminal Court Statute also expressly prohibits attacks on humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping missions if they are entitled to civilian protection.
  3. A third fundamental principle under international humanitarian law is the principle of proportionality. It prohibits an attack on a military objective if such an attack may be expected to cause excessive collateral damage (such as loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects) in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
  4. The fourth fundamental principle is the prohibition on employing weapons, ammunition, materials, and methods of warfare of a nature to cause superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering to members of the armed forces and civilians who directly participate in hostilities.

To be held accountable for war crimes, the required mental elements may differ in terms of their thresholds. On this matter, the International Criminal Court sets a relatively high “mens rea” standard stating that, “unless otherwise provided, intent in relation to consequence exists only if the person ‘means to cause that consequence or is aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events”[25].


Aggression is one of the most controversial crimes in international criminal law[26]. Like war crimes, it is essentially connected to armed violence. Nonetheless, aggression does not involve a breach of the “jus in bello”, but a criminalization of certain forms of recourse to force (jus ad bellum). Aggression is usually defined as the most serious and dangerous form of illegal use of force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another state.

In the first version of International Criminal Court Statute, the crime of aggression was just symbolically included in Article 5, but its exercise of jurisdiction remained pending on the formulation of a proper definition. Only after years of debates and negotiations, at the Kampala Review Conference (2010), states reached agreement on a definition of the crime and the conditions under which the Court can exercise jurisdiction. The new definition identifies as  “crime of aggression” the planning, preparation, initiation, or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity, and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations. The Kampala definition describes aggression as a leadership crime and extends individual criminal responsibility from the traditional concept of ‘war of aggression’ to ‘acts of aggression’ according with General Assembly Resolution 3314 definition. The idea of individual criminal responsibility is closely linked to unlawful state action in international relations. Therefore, an individual cannot incur responsibility in the absence of an act of aggression under international law.[27]

In practice, types of aggression may vary from mere violations of sovereignty e.g., targeted air strikes to interventions with on-site presence or other unlawful uses of force. These acts may involve high civilian casualties or loss of life and disturb peace and security. In other cases, they may cause limited human damage, or even be exercised with the intent to protect peace and security or human rights. As stated in Article of the International Criminal Court Statute, the crime of aggression requires an act which ‘by its character, gravity and scale’ constitutes ‘a manifest violation of the Charter’. These factors distinguish the crime of aggression from general violations of the prohibition of the use of force, resulting in the fact that not every illegal use of force entails individual criminal responsibility for aggression.

For the crime of aggression, compared to the other crimes, the ICC has limited jurisdiction in  state referral or proprio motu proceedings. Indeed, the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction over persons of states which are not party to the Rome Statute or have not accepted the aggression amendment[28]. In these circumstances, exercise of jurisdiction over aggression is tied to the prospect of a Security Council referral. Moreover, another peculiar feature of this crime under the Rome Statute entails that States parties do not enjoy protection by the International Criminal Court against crimes of aggression committed by non-state parties against them i.e., on their territory, although they enjoy such protection for other categories of crimes.


The International Criminal Court (“the ICC” or “the Court”) is a permanent international court established 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. The ICC is distinct from the International Court of Justice, an organ of the United Nations that hears disputes between States. The seat of the Court is in The Hague in the Netherlands.

The ICC is a permanent autonomous court, whereas the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as other similar courts, were established within the framework of the United Nations to deal with specific situations, and only have a limited mandate and jurisdiction. The ICC, which tries individuals, is also different from the International Court of Justice, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations for the settlement of disputes between States. The International Court of Justice and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals also have their seats in The Hague.

The ICC is an independent body whose mission is to try individuals for crimes within its jurisdiction without the need for a special mandate from the United Nations. On 4 October 2004, the ICC and the United Nations signed an agreement governing their institutional relationship.

The ICC does not replace national criminal justice systems; rather, it complements them. It can investigate and, where warranted, prosecute, and try individuals only if the State concerned does not, cannot or is unwilling to do so genuinely. This might occur where proceedings are unduly delayed or are intended to shield individuals from their criminal responsibility. This is known as the principle of complementarity, under which priority is given to national systems. States retain primary responsibility for trying the perpetrators of the most serious of crimes.

The ICC prosecutes individuals, not groups or States. Any individual who is alleged to have committed crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC may be brought before the ICC. In fact, the Office of the Prosecutor’s prosecutorial policy is to focus on those who, having regard to the evidence gathered, bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes, and does not consider any official position that may be held by the alleged perpetrators.


Some of the most heinous crimes were committed during the conflicts which marked the twentieth century. Unfortunately, many of these violations of international law have remained unpunished. The Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals were established in the wake of the Second World War. In 1948, when the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the need for a permanent international court to deal with the kinds of atrocities which had just been perpetrated.

The idea of a system of international criminal justice re-emerged after the end of the Cold War. However, while negotiations on the ICC Statute were underway at the United Nations, the world was witnessing the commission of heinous crimes in the territory of the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. In response to these atrocities, the United Nations Security Council established an ad hoc tribunal for each of these situations. These events undoubtedly had a most significant impact on the decision to convene the conference which established the ICC in Rome in June 1998. On 17 July, 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted. The Rome Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002 and the International Criminal Court was formally established.



On 17 July 1998, a conference of 160 States established the first treaty-based permanent international criminal court. The treaty adopted during that conference is known as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Among other things, it sets out the crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC (such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression), the rules of procedure and the mechanisms for States to cooperate with the ICC. The countries which have accepted these rules are known as States Parties and are represented in the Assembly of States Parties.

The Assembly of States Parties, which meets at least once a year, sets the general policies for the administration of the Court, and reviews its activities. During those meetings, the States Parties review the activities of the working groups established by the States and any other issues relevant to the ICC, discuss new projects and adopt the ICC’s annual budget.

Over 120 countries have ratified the Rome Statute and are States Parties to the Rome Statute, representing all regions: Africa, the Asia- Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean, as well as Western Europe and North America. The Rome Statute provides that the Court may sit elsewhere whenever the judges consider it desirable. The Court has also set up offices in the areas where it is conducting investigations.


The Rome Statute requires that certain criteria exist before an individual can be prosecuted by the Court. The Statute contains three jurisdictional requirements such as:

  1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction: The crimes for which individuals can be prosecuted for fall within the listed crimes under the Statute. The primary crimes are listed in article 5 of the Statute and they are: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.
  2. Territorial Or Personal Jurisdiction: For an individual to be prosecuted by the Court either territorial jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction must exist. An individual can only be prosecuted if he or she has either committed a crime within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court or committed a crime while being a national of a State that is within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court.
  3. Temporal Jurisdiction: This refers to the period over which the Court can exercise its powers. The ICC has jurisdiction only with respect to events which occurred after the entry into force of its Statute on 1 July 2002. If a State becomes a party to the Statute after its entry into force, the Court may exercise its jurisdiction only with respect to crimes committed after the entry into force of the Statute for that State, unless that State has made a declaration accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC retroactively. However, the Court cannot exercise jurisdiction with respect to events which occurred before 1 July 2002. For a new State Party, the Statute enters into force on the first day of the month after the 60th day following the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.

When a State becomes a party to the Rome Statute, it agrees to submit itself to the jurisdiction of the ICC with respect to the crimes enumerated in the Statute. The Court may exercise its jurisdiction in situations where the alleged perpetrator is a national of a State Party or where the crime was committed in the territory of a State Party. Also, a State not party to the Statute may decide to accept the jurisdiction of the ICC. These conditions do not apply when the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, refers a situation to the Office of the Prosecutor.


The ICC is governed by the Assembly of State Parties, which is made up of the States that are party to the Rome Statute. The ICC is composed of four organs namely the Presidency, the Chambers, the Office of the Prosecutor, and the Registry.


The Presidency consists of three judges (the President and two Vice-Presidents) elected by an absolute majority of the 18 judges of the Court for a maximum of two, three-year terms. The Presidency is responsible for the administration of the Court, except for the Office of the Prosecutor. It represents the Court to the outside world and helps with the organization of the work of the judges. The Presidency is also responsible for carrying out other tasks, such as ensuring the enforcement of sentences imposed by the Court.


The 18 judges, including the three judges of the Presidency, are assigned to the Court’s three judicial divisions: The Pre-Trial Division composed of not less than six judges, The Trial Division composed of not less than six judges, and the Appeals Division composed of five judges. They are assigned to the following Chambers: The Pre-Trial Chambers (each composed of one or three judges), The Trial Chambers (each composed of three judges) and The Appeals Chamber (composed of the five judges of the Appeals Division).


The Registry helps the Court to conduct fair, impartial, and public trials. The core function of the Registry is to provide administrative and operational support to the Chambers and the Office of the Prosecutor. It also supports the Registrar’s activities relation to defence, victims, communication, and security matters. It ensures that the Court is properly serviced and develops effective mechanisms for assisting victims, witnesses and the defence to safeguard their rights under the Rome Statute and the Rules of Procedure and Evidence. As the Court’s official channel of communication, the Registry also has primary responsibility for the ICC’s public information and outreach activities.



  1. The Rome Statute:

The Rome Statute has set up an entirely new paradigm of international criminal justice, which has made accountability for atrocity crimes an integral aspect of the rule of law that simply cannot be ignored any more. Now, the world community knows that perpetrators of the gravest crimes need to be and will be held accountable in the first place by national courts, and where it fails, by the ICC.

  1. The Court of International Justice:

The ICC has evolved from being a Court on mere papers into a leading force in the enforcement of international justice. 123 States have so far ratified the Rome Statute. The ICC has active cases at all stages of proceedings. All triggering mechanisms of the ICC’s jurisdiction have been activated. There is now a large body of jurisprudence on many fundamental legal issues, and ICC Judges have successfully safeguarded the procedural fairness, as a cornerstone of the Court’s integrity.

  1. Victim Recognition:

The Statute maintain strong emphasis on the victims’ position. It allows victims to be substantially integrated into the ICC’s proceedings even when not called as witnesses. The Statute is mindful of the interests of the victims, including women and children. In the countries where the Court has active cases, the ICC’s outreach program communicates actively with the local population, informing the victims of their rights and helping communities generally understand the ICC’s mandate and proceedings. The Statute directly mentions the relationship between the ICC and the Trust Fund in the case of court-ordered reparations following guilty verdicts. The Fund also has a mandate to assist victims outside the context of the court proceedings, and it has already supported tens of thousands individual victims and their affected communities.


There are several challenges plaguing the ICC such as competing interests, limited resources, political opportunism, cultural differences, different visions and more.


The approaches towards international crimes are quite new and still in progress. International criminal law has evolved significantly since its first steps in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and the creation of a permanent Court, the ICC, able to exercise an international jurisdiction over the four “core crimes” represents, despite its legal and practical limitations, an achievement of paramount importance in the advancement of human rights protection.  The modern interpretation of international criminal law has proved able to develop in a dynamic way covering both the ‘public’ and ‘private’ sides of violence thus protecting different interests: state interests, the autonomy and dignity of individuals and group rights.

Though the ICC may be plagued by several challenges, undoubtedly, there are also undeniable shared values and common goals that humans everywhere hold dear. Men, women, and children everywhere want to live in a world of peace, security, and harmony, without fear of violence and suffering. The international arena in the 21st century is very dynamic and crowded by various international organizations. The ICC should encourage the next generation of leaders and actors to always aspire for universal criminal justice and take a giant leap forward in the global fight against impunity.


[1] A. Cassese, International Criminal Law, Oxford University Press: Oxford 2003.

[2] G. Werle, Principles of International Criminal Law, T.M.C. Asser Press: The Hague 2005.

[3] Terje Einarsen , The Concept of Universal Crimes in International Law: Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher Oslo 2012

[4] Even ICC-International Criminal Court Statute.

[5] Rome Statute, Article 6

[6] Stahn, C. (2018). A Critical Introduction to International Criminal Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University 2018

[7] first officially used in 1944 by Polish-Jewish lawyer R. Lemkin in his “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” (Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944).

[8]  Ibid,  Origin of genocide

[9] See GA Res. 96 (I), UN Doc. GA/Res/96(I), 11 December 1946.

[10] Art. 2 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 9 December 1948, 78 UNTS 1021

[11] Art. 4, Updated Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, S/Res/827 (1993) of 25 May 1993

[12] Art. 2, Statute of the International Tribunal for Rwanda, S/Res/955 (1994) of 8 November 1994.

[13] On difficulties of the concept of race, see C. Lingaas, ‘Elephant in the Room: The Uneasy Task of Defining “Racial” in International Criminal Law’ (2015) 15 International Criminal Law Review 485.

[14] Stahn, C. (2018). A Critical Introduction to International Criminal Law- Nature of the crime of genocide. Cambridge: Cambridge University

[15] Art.3 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 9 December 1948

[16] The Russian Delegate stated: ‘It was impossible that hundreds of thousands of people should commit so many crimes unless they had been incited to do so … The peoples of the world would indeed be puzzled if … those who incited others to commit the concrete acts of genocide, were to remain unpunished.’ Summary Records of the meetings of the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, 21 September‒10 December 1948, Official Records of the General Assembly, statements by Mr. Morozov, 241.

[17] Stahn, C. (2018). Origin- Crimes against Humanity.

[18] Stahn, C. (2018). Citing  J. D. Ohlin, ‘Organizational Criminality’, in E. van Sliedregt and S. Vasiliev, Pluralism in International Criminal Law (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 118.

[19] See generally F. Pocar, ‘Persecution as a Crime under International Criminal Law’ (2008) 2 Journal of National Security Law & Policy 355.

[20] The Battle of Solferino (referred to in Italy as the Battle of Solferino and San Martino) on 24 June 1859 resulted in the victory of the allied French Army under Napoleon III and Sardinian Army under Victor Emmanuel II (together known as the Franco-Sardinian Alliance) against the Austrian Army under Emperor Franz Joseph I.

[21] The First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field, 22 August 1864.

[22] 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions on means and methods of combat.

[23] The four Geneva Conventions of 1949.

[24] Stahn, C. - Types of War Crimes – A Critical Introduction to International Criminal Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University 2018.

[25] Article 30. ICC Statute.

[26] Stahn, C. -1.3.4 The Crime of Aggression.

[27] Stahn, C. citing Jens David Ohlin ‘Organizational Criminality’, 107, 118.

[28] Which still represent most of the international community. Currently only 39 state parties ratified the amendment (



[31] Past Achievements and Future Challenges of the ICCkeynote speech for the 20th Anniversary of the Rome Statute, Judge Sang-Hyun Song (The 2nd President of the ICC) The Hague, 17th July, 2018

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