How can people report crimes to the ICC?

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 11:20

By Justice Hub

We have received numerous questions about how individuals can file complaints with the ICC. Justice Hub put those questions to Emeric Rogier, Head of Situation Analysis at the ICC. 

Q: Can anyone send a complaint to the ICC?

A: Yes, any individual, group or organisation can send information on alleged crimes to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the ICC. These are referred to as “communications.” They can be sent by post, by fax or by e-mail to [email protected]. Because all communications are subjected to analysis by the OTP, the more detailed and substantive the information received, the better the Office is able to focus its analysis.

Q: What language can a sender use?

A: Senders are advised to submit information in English or French (the working languages of the Court) or in one of the other official languages of the Court: Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish. If the information is submitted in another language, the Office attempts to obtain informal translations where possible.

Q: What do you do when you get a complaint?

A: Upon receiving a communication, the Office assesses whether the allegations appear to fall within the Court’s jurisdiction. The jurisdictional criteria are explained further below. If the communication does not appear to meet the jurisdictional criteria, it is deemed to be manifestly outside of the Court’s jurisdiction. If the criteria appear to be met, a communication can be linked to a situation that is already under investigation or preliminary examination by the Court, in which case it is analysed as part of those situations and cases, by the relevant investigative team.

Q: But what if the communication isn’t about a situation already under investigation?

A: If the communication does not relate to any situation under investigation or preliminary examination, it will be deemed as warranting further analysis in order to inform a decision on whether a formal preliminary examination should be initiated. This decision is made on the basis of all communications relating to the same situation, as well as publicly available information. Communications are not analysed in isolation from each other.

Q: Do you let the sender know what’s happening?

A: In all cases, the sender is informed by the OTP Information Desk of which of the above ways his/her communication will be dealt with by the Office. The sender also receives an individual reference number, so that they can submit additional information as part of the communication should he/she wish to do so.

Q: How many different countries do you get complaints from?

A: We receive communications from nearly every country in the world. To date, the Office has received over 10,000 different communications, all of which have been analysed to determine whether the allegations fall within the Court’s jurisdiction. From 1 November 2013 to 31 October 2014, the OTP received 579 communications relating to over 100 different countries, both states parties and non-states parties. Of these, 462 were manifestly outside the Court’s jurisdiction, 44 warranted further analysis, 49 were linked to a situation already under analysis, and 24 were linked to an investigation or prosecution.

Q: How does the ICC decide which cases to take on?

A: While the Office is open to all referrals and communications, the decision on whether to initiate an investigation on the basis of such referrals or communications, as well as the selection of cases within a situation, is for the Prosecutor to decide. The criteria applied by the Prosecutor in deciding whether to initiate an investigation are set forth in the Rome Statute and are applied equally to all situations, irrespective of whether the situation has been the subject of a referral or the Prosecutor is acting on the basis of communications received.

Q: How does she make that decision?

A: The Prosecutor’s independent role in selecting situations and cases helps to ensure that the impartiality of the ICC is preserved. The OTP applies consistent methods and criteria, irrespective of the States or parties involved or the person(s) or group(s) concerned. For instance, geopolitical implications, or geographical balance between situations, are not relevant criteria for the Prosecutor’s selection of situations and cases. The Prosecutor has adopted a strategy of investigating and prosecuting those who bear the greatest responsibility for the most serious crimes within a situation, based on the evidence that emerges in the course of an investigation.

Q: How do you decide whether the information is about crimes that fall under the ICC's mandate? 

A: The Office assesses the time period of the alleged crimes (temporal jurisdiction), where or by whom the alleged crimes were committed (territorial or personal jurisdiction), as well as the nature of the crimes alleged (subject-matter jurisdiction). Only crimes committed after the Rome Statute (the international treaty establishing the ICC) entered into force in a given country can be considered. For many states, this will be from 1 July 2002 onwards, but it can be later depending on when that state became a party to the Statute. In addition, the alleged crimes must have been committed either on the territory of, or by the national of, a state which has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction. The only exception to this rule is if the UN Security Council has referred a situation to the Court. Finally, the ICC has jurisdiction over only three international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Therefore, an ‘ordinary’ crime which does not appear to qualify as any of the above crimes would not fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction.

In sum, alleged crimes committed before 2002, or on the territory of a country that is not an ICC member, or allegations of ‘ordinary’ crimes, will usually be dismissed by the Office for falling outside of the Court’s jurisdiction.

In addition, the OTP is also required to consider whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, the gravity of the crimes, and the interests of justice.

Q: How would a complaint received from an individual ever end up forming part of a case?

A: Information received by the Office on alleged crimes is analysed in conjunction with other relevant communications as well as open source information. In other words, communications are not analysed in isolation from each other, but rather are used to inform the Office’s analysis of a situation as a whole. If a communication that is deemed to warrant further analysis does not relate to any situation that is already under investigation or preliminary examination, then it will be analysed with the assistance of other related communications and other available information in order to inform a decision on whether a formal preliminary examination should be initiated.

If a communication is received that relates to a situation that is already under investigation or preliminary examination, that communication will be channelled to the appropriate team within the Office working on that situation or case. Whether that information is presented as evidence in trial or pre-trial proceedings will depend on a number of prosecutorial considerations, primarily the relevance and strength of the evidence.

Q: What kinds of cases can be officially referred to the ICC?

A: Any situation in which one or more crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court appear to have been committed can be referred to the Prosecutor of the ICC.

Q: Who can do that?

A: Referrals can be made either by a State Party to the Rome Statute or by the United Nations Security Council.

Q: How can they do that? 

A: Referrals must be made in writing and sent to the Prosecutor of the ICC.

Q: If member states can refer cases, how can information from non-member states or individuals ever be used? 

A: The criteria for the selection of situations and cases by the Prosecutor are the same, irrespective of whether or not there has been a referral. The Prosecutor has been granted statutory powers to independently initiate an investigation on the basis of information received on alleged crimes. This information can be sent by any individual, group or organisation. Once received, the information is analysed using the criteria described above (jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice). For the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation on this basis, she must apply to a Pre-Trial Chamber for authorisation to investigate. To date, the Prosecutor has done so twice: in Kenya (2009) and in Côte d’Ivoire (2011).



James Arington

The refusal of medical by judicial acts by the state of Indiana in the Workers Compensation Board of injured workers must be looked at with the ten of thousands of people that have been denied medical care by case nurse managers and insurance adjustets allowed to dictate medical treatment to their Hand Picked Physician's that the injured worker must see under the color of law. These hand picked physicians add and abet in what state law mandates to be a class c felony. People have killed their selds , because after being denied medical care and benefits they feel worthless unable to provide for their families,

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 08:06

I URGE YOU TO HELP ME IN A COMPLAINT IN THE USA ABOUT THE SILENT GENOCIDE CURRENTLY GOING ON TO THE INDIVIDUALS IN MY COUNTRY. I allegedly report that the drug war is a very elaborate way to segregate and ignore any one that is a free thinking INDIVIDUAL. MIST A these are my people my culture and my mobility ! Some are INDAGENT DO TO LACK OF FEDERAL COMPLIANCE TO FOLLOW RULE 504 OF THE ADA. Rehabilitation act. Mandating treatment for drug and alcohol addiction..? President Nixon started the drug war with the intention of breaking up the black Panthers and the hippies and attacking there leaders and disrupting there evolution in the American proses! Most federally funded judicial entity's. Are predominantly privately chosen faith based organizations. That have hijack the American Constitutional LAW. I asked it is a major breach if contract. And have been subjected to multiple accounts of lack of the disgusted agency's doing do proses investing alleged violations. I am an indagent individual with 3 pending cases one with the SSD. And a Federal law suit in the works as well as a criminal violation at a County level. It is impossible to get aid they give more to immigrants sorry populated there privately chosen face based organization with more ignorant individual that haven't lived in the country for a while and picked up on a sea generations of the legalities and the rules. I do believe I am one of the reasons for for attorney General Jeff sessions new push for the drug war to continue. Do to my filing a no man's rea and involving the DOJ. With multiple complains The basics facts are a non violent crime with no victim no witnesses and no damage . Never intended to be a criminal action in this country I'm a legend that they use press to prestidigitation of or legislation with in Congress that in an earlier time in America. Did not exist in history to take over what was created by our founding forefathers. I am speaking into my phone my grammar is not very well I'm disabled and I cannot get any legal aid according to the law I'm supposed to haveit it is extremely hard to get access to the judicial proses. For violations of our federal rights without a sea of legislation that virtually makes it impossible I've been at this 3 years and I'm just too stubborn to give up I'm alleging that the Congress the state legislature private interest and privately chosen faith based organizations are making money to build their organizations and authoritarian controlling empires. They recruit primarily internally. Side stepping equality opportunity and equality! Set the text of their face require that you not question Authority???? In a Nation built in that issue??? so if you have a bunch of FBI agents that are in charge of the color of law and your area in South Easton Arizona. their the ones that are supposed to police the local governments ? through religious organizations. and an individual makes a complaint they don't follow up the complaint . Kevin if there is a victim a witnesses and damage? However the quickly point your addiction our unconstitutional stipulation put on you by the legislative process ignoring your Federal right to reputation?we don't deserve this they force ignorant people to you give up and lose faith and this is Petty stuff compared with what's happening in the rest of the world but if America is the basis for a lot of these countries reason for democracy then I believe it should be held to a significantly higher standard by the world and police much more in the lines of falling there own rules then if other nations,! The drug war is directly responsible for most of the atrocities and Latin America Mexico and other nations the CIA is not you have bought drugs and brought most of them in to fund wars for their agendas? By selling them to the people in America there own people? And now not to acknowledge addictive personality's. No matter if your mailing. A religious philosophy it a now known as uncontrolled substances,! It can and should be managed not used as a review income at others expense? and still maintain some sort of control over there own , expenses. This is s gross misinterpretation of the reality we where sold as youths?

Monday, July 17, 2017 - 19:03
M Williams

I would urge you to investigate on president Erdogans wrogndoings in Turkey. He should surely be tried on crimes against humanity. thanks

Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 00:44

Please investigate the German Child Protection Departments. They are notorious for destroying immigrant parents's lives to favor German parents. The immense corruption and systematic human rights abuse involved is, to me, crime against humanity.

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - 10:18
Elane Durbin

I would like to understand why the International Criminal Court has been able to ignore the hideous rampant crimes by Israel against Palestinians.

Please explain this glaring lack of action.

Proof of these crimes are well documented and occurring on an hourly basis.

Do you allow 2 countries, Israel and the United States to dictate the vote on whether or not to prosecute?

If this is the case then what purpose do you serve?

Sunday, September 18, 2016 - 07:34

This is the email from Nepal. The current ruling party of Nepal (Moist) has organized so many crimes i n Nepal including recruiting child soldiers, blasting the passenger bus of innocent people who are not part of any war, many brutal murders of innocent teachers in the village. But that happened in the past (10 years ago). Even, the supreme court of Nepal has already verdicts punishment to one of the leader. But the state is not following the order of supreme court due to the Moist influence in power currently. There are thousands in Nepal who have living with bullets inside body. They are panicked and crying for justice. But nothing happens due to the influence of moist party in Nepali politics.

In this regard, can you please suggest how can victims proceed ahead for justice with the help of ICC ?

Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 16:06
khan afzal

Iam from afghanistan last night pakistani supporters have hitted afghanistan cricket team player shafiqullah shafaq in peshawar islamia college university match ,so he is injure I want to call all up on the all cricket teams please dont come to pakistan....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 08:54

how can work with you

Sunday, May 22, 2016 - 19:00
neelmani india

sir how can work respected icc work

Saturday, January 9, 2016 - 03:36
Silas G Sconiers

The United States Of America needs to be investigated as well for it crimes against humanity like allowing African Americans To Fish In The Toxic Grand Calumet River In Gary Indiana only a block away from Lake Michigan where we are not allowed to fish even though we have got funding for gaining access

Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 01:11