By Benjamin Duerr*
The ICC Dictionary is a guide for everyone interested in the proceedings in The Hague. It contains almost 200 of the most important terms and concepts with short explanations in alphabetical order. Over the coming weeks, Justice Hub will present a selection of some of the terms highlighted by the Dictionary.
Joint Criminal Enterprise (JCE): Joint Criminal Enterprise is a concept that was developed by the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to hold each member of a group individually responsible. For example, the director of a concentration camp can be held equally liable for murder as the guards, even though the director has not killed anybody. A requirement for a Joint Criminal Enterprise is the existence of a common plan. Collective liability under the JCE doctrine entails that a person, even though not present at a crime scene, can share the same liability and punishment. The ICC applies the concept of co-perpetration instead of JCE.
Judges: The ICC has 18 judges who are elected for a term of nine years by the Assembly of States Parties, i.e. the member states. A judge belongs either to the Pre-Trial Division, the Trial Division or the Appeals Division. Member states can nominate their own highprofile judges, lawyers and legal experts. Most important for the allocation of seats is the ratio of gender and geography. Experience plays a subsidiary role. The ICC categorises the judges according to their legal experience: judges elected from List A have competence in criminal law and procedure while judges from List B have experience in international law. The ICC requires at least nine judges from List A, who have a criminal law experience, and at least five judges from List B with international law experience. However, the Rome Statute does not explain the requirements in depth. Article 36 reads that all persons can be elected who are “of high moral character, impartiality and integrity [and] who possess the qualification required in their respective states for appointment to the highest political offices.”
Jurisdiction: The ICC has jurisdiction over three crimes (jurisdiction ratioae materiae):
– crimes against humanity and
– war crimes.
The crimes must have been committed by persons over 18 years of age. However, the ICC has no universal jurisdiction. As defined in Articles 12 and 13 of the Rome Statute the ICC can only act:
– if the accused is a national of a State Party;
– if the crime took place on the territory of a State Party;
– or if the Security Council has referred the situation to the Court, regardless of the nationality of the accused or the location of the crime.
A state that is not party to the Court can accept the ICC’s jurisdiction. As a baseline the ICC can only prosecute crimes that took place after 1 July 2002 when the Rome Statute entered into force.
Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division (JCCD): The Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division (JCCD) is a department within the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). The JCCD includes lawyers, political scientists and analysts who advise the Prosecutor on issues of admissibility and jurisdiction before investigations begin. In the absence of an own police force, the JCCD is also in charge of making arrangements with states and international organisations and to ensure their cooperation during investigations and prosecutions.
Jurisdiction rationae materiae: Jurisdiction rationae materia limits the ICC’s jurisdiction to certain crimes. The Court can try genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Statute also provides for the investigation and prosecution of the crime of aggression.
Jurisdiction rationae personae: The Rome Statute limits the ICC’s jurisdiction to natural persons (Article 25) and to persons at least 18 years of age at the time the alleged crime has been committed (Article 26). The Statute does not provide for immunities.
Jurisdiction rationae temporis: The ICC’s jurisdiction is limited, not only geographically but also temporarily. Jurisdiction rationae temporis holds that the the Court can only investigate and prosecute alleged crimes that have been committed after the 1st of July, 2002. For states that join the Rome Statute later, the ICC has jurisdiction after the Statute entered into force for that state. States may accept an ICC intervention before that date. In no case, however, has the Court jurisdiction over events before the 1st of July, 2002.
Have a look at the other letters: A
and the Numbers 1-10
*Benjamin Duerr is a correspondent and foreign reporter covering the International Criminal Court and the war crimes tribunals in The Hague.