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The states parties to the ICC (as of 1 October 2009)

The States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court are those countries that have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court. As of October 2009, 110 states are members of the Court.[1] A further 38 states have signed but not ratified the treaty,[2] and several states that have not signed the treaty have indicated their intention to accede to it.

The Court can automatically exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory of a State Party or by a national of a State Party. States Parties must co-operate with the Court, including surrendering suspects when requested to do so by the Court.

States Parties are entitled to participate and vote in proceedings of the Assembly of States Parties, which is the Court's governing body.


States Parties

Total number of States Parties, 1999-2006

As of October 2009, the following 110 countries have ratified or acceded to the Rome Statute:[1][2][3]



Several African countries, including Senegal, Djibouti and Comoros, have called on African ICC members to withdraw en masse from the court in protest at allegations that the court targets Africa and specifically the indictment of Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir.[4]

Implementing legislation

The Rome Statute obliges States Parties to cooperate with the court in the investigation and prosecution of crimes, including the arrest and surrender of suspects.[5] Part 9 of the Statute requires all States Parties to “ensure that there are procedures available under their national law for all of the forms of cooperation which are specified under this Part”.[6]

Under the Rome Statute's complementarity principle, the court only has jurisdiction over cases where the relevant State is unwilling or unable to investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute the case itself. Therefore many States Parties have implemented national legislation to provide for the investigation and prosecution of crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the court.[7]

As of April 2006, the following states had enacted or drafted implementing legislation:[8]

Countries Complementarity Legislation Co-operation Legislation
Australia, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom Enacted Enacted
Colombia, Republic of Congo, Serbia, Montenegro Enacted Draft
Burundi, Costa Rica, Mali, Niger, Portugal Enacted None
France, Norway, Peru, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland Draft Enacted
Austria, Japan, Latvia, Romania None Enacted
Argentina, Benin, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominica, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Samoa, Senegal, Uganda, Uruguay, Zambia Draft Draft
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Hungary, Jordan, Panama, Venezuela Draft None
Mexico None Draft
Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cyprus, Djibouti, East Timor, Fiji, Gambia, Guinea, Guyana, Liberia, Macedonia, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Nauru, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Tanzania None None


As of October 2009, 38 countries have signed but not ratified the Rome Statute:[2][3]

However, three of these states — Israel, Sudan and the United States — have "unsigned" the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, they have no legal obligations arising from their signature of the statute.[2]

According to the law of treaties, a state that has signed but not ratified a treaty is obliged to refrain from “acts which would defeat the object and purpose” of the treaty; however, these obligations do not continue if the state makes clear that it does not intend to become a party to the treaty.[9][10]


The government of Bahrain originally announced in May 2006 that it would ratify the court in the session ending in July 2006.[11] By December 2006 the ratification had not yet been completed, but the Coalition for the International Criminal Court said they expected ratification in 2007.[12]

Cape Verde

The parliament of Cape Verde has concluded that it would be necessary to amend the constitution before the court was ratified to allow for surrender of suspects and to lift the immunity of political leaders from prosecution.[13]


Israel voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute but later signed it for a short period. In 2002, the United States and Israel, "unsigned" the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intend to become states parties and, as such, they have no legal obligations arising from their signature of the statute.[14]

Israel states that it has "deep sympathy" with the goals of the court. However, it has concerns that political pressure on the court would lead it to reinterpret international law or to "invent new crimes". It cites the inclusion of "the transfer of parts of the civilian population of an occupying power into occupied territory" as a war crime as an example of this, whilst at the same time disagrees with the exclusion of terrorism and drug trafficking. Israel sees the powers given to the prosecutor as excessive and the geographical appointment of judges as disadvantaging Israel which is prevented from joining any of the UN Regional Groups.[15]


At a conference in 2007, the Kuwaiti Bar Association and the Secretary of the National Assembly of Kuwait, Hussein Al-Hereti, called for Kuwait to join the court.[16]


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has introduced a Senate resolution calling for the ratification of the Rome Statute, but this has not made progress. In August 2006 the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines said a series of dialogues were necessary with the armed forces and police prior to ratification in light of the various ongoing insurgencies involving the New People's Army, Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.[17] In April 2008, the National Police Director said ratification would prove the country's commitment to human rights, while an Armed Forces representative said that ratification was a political decision that the army "would adhere and abide by".[18] The United States' strong influence in the country is a strong factor in the decision to delay ratification.[citation needed] EU and other governments from countries state parties to the ICC have been pressing for immediate ratification. Having met Philippine government officials, including the President, Canadian government spokesperson has been vigorously pushing for ratification in the Philippines and is leading the diplomatic delegation in this endeavour.[17]


Former Senator Kraisak Choonhavan called in November 2006 for Thailand to ratify the court and to accept retrospective jurisdiction, so that former premier Thaksin Shinawatra could be investigated for crimes against humanity connected to 2,500 alleged extrajudicial killings carried out in 2003 against suspected drug dealers.[19]


In October 2006, the Ambassador to the United Nations stated that Ukraine would submit a bill to the parliament to ratify the Statute.[20] Ukraine ratified APIC without having ratified the Rome Statute on 2007-01-29.[21]. This is despite the fact that on 2001-07-11 Constitutional Court of Ukraine ruled Rome Statute to be inconsistent with Constitution of Ukraine[22].

United States

There is presently bipartisan consensus that the United States does not intend to ratify the Rome Statute. [23] Some US Senators have suggested that the treaty could not be ratified without a constitutional amendment. The US Constitution declares that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter on what the law of the United States is. [24] Therefore, US opponents of the ICC argue that the US Constitution in its present form does not allow a cession of judicial authority to any body other than the Supreme Court. In the view of proponents of the ICC there is no inconsistency with US Constitution, arguing that the role of the US Supreme Court as final arbiter of US law would not be disturbed. Before the Rome Statute, opposition to the ICC was largely headed by Republican Senator Jesse Helms.[25] Other objections to ratification have included that it violates international law, is a political court without appeal, denies fundamental American human rights, denies the authority of the United Nations, and would violate US national sovereignty.

Although the US originally voted against the adoption of the Rome Statute, President Bill Clinton unexpectedly reversed his position on 31 December 2000 and signed the treaty,[26][27] but indicated that he would not recommend that his successor, George W. Bush, submit it to the Senate for ratification.[28] On 6 May 2002, the Bush administration announced it was nullifying the United States' signature of the treaty.[29] The country's main objections are interference with their national sovereignty and a fear of politically motivated prosecutions.

In 2002, the U.S. Congress passed the American Servicemembers' Protection Act (ASPA), which contained a number of provisions, including prohibitions on the U.S. providing military aid to countries which had ratified the treaty establishing the court (exceptions granted), and permitting the President to authorize military force to free any U.S. military personnel held by the court, leading opponents to dub it the "Hague Invasion Act." The act was later modified to permit U.S. cooperation with the ICC when dealing with U.S. enemies.

The U.S. has also made a number of Bilateral Immunity Agreements (BIAs, also known as "Article 98 Agreements") with a number of countries, prohibiting the surrender to the ICC of a broad scope of persons including current or former government officials, military personnel, and U.S. employees (including non-national contractors) and nationals. None of these agreements preclude the prosecution of Americans by any nation where they are believed to have committed any crime. As of 2 August 2006, the US Department of State reported that it had signed 101 of these agreements.[30] The United States has cut aid to many countries which have refused to sign BIAs.[30]

In 2002, the United States threatened to veto the renewal of all United Nations peacekeeping missions unless its troops were granted immunity from prosecution by the Court.[31] In a compromise move, the Security Council passed Resolution 1422 on 12 July 2002, granting immunity to personnel from ICC non-States Parties involved in United Nations established or authorized missions for a renewable twelve-month period.[31] This was renewed for twelve months in 2003 but the Security Council refused to renew the exemption again in 2004, after pictures emerged of US troops abusing Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, and the US withdrew its demand.[32]


On 24 March 2007, the Yemeni parliament voted to ratify the Rome Statute.[33][34] However, some MPs claim that this vote breached parliamentary rules, and have demanded another vote. It is unclear whether parliament has the right to vote again on the issue at this stage, or whether the President will proceed with ratification despite parliament's objections.[35][36]

Accession states

The deadline for signing the Rome Statute expired on 31 December 2000. States that did not sign before that date have to accede to the Statute in a single step.[3] To date, eight states — Afghanistan, Cook Islands, Dominica, East Timor, Japan, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname — have acceded to the treaty,[1] and a number of other states have taken steps to do so:


In July 2006, the United Nations Committee Against Torture noted assurances from the government of Guatemala that "necessary steps are being taken to ratify the Rome Statute".[37]


Indonesia has stated that it supports the adoption of the Rome Statute, and that “universal participation should be the cornerstone of the International Criminal Court”.[38] In 2004, the President of Indonesia adopted a National Plan of Action on Human Rights, which states that Indonesia intends to ratify the Rome Statute in 2008.[38] This was confirmed in 2007 by Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda and the head of the Indonesian People's Representative Council's Committee on Security and International Affairs, Theo L. Sambuaga.[39]


In February 2005 the Iraqi Transitional Government decided to ratify the court. However, two weeks later they reversed this decision,[40] a move that the Coalition for the International Criminal Court claimed was due to pressure from the United States.[41]


In March 2009, Lebanese Justice Minister said the government had decided not to join for now. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court claimed this was due in part to "intense pressure" from the United States, who feared it could result in the prosecution of Israelis in a future conflict. [42]


On 25 July 2006, the Nepalese House of Representatives directed the government to ratify the Rome Statute. Under Nepalese law, this motion is compulsory for the Executive.[43]


Turkey is currently a candidate country to join the European Union, which has required progress on human rights issues in order to continue with accession talks. Part of this has included pressure, but not a requirement, on Turkey to join the court which is supported under the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.[44] Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated in October 2004 that Turkey would "soon" ratify the court,[45] and the Turkish constitution was amended in 2004 to explicitly allow nationals to be surrendered to the court.[46] However, in January 2008, the Erdoğan government reversed its position, deciding to shelve accession because of concerns it could undermine efforts against the Kurdistan Workers Party.[47]

The position of other states


The People's Republic of China has opposed the court, on the basis that:

  1. It goes against the sovereignty of nation states
  2. The principle of complementarity gives the court the ability to judge a nation's court system
  3. War crimes jurisdiction covers internal as well as international conflicts
  4. The court's jurisdiction covers peace-time crimes against humanity
  5. Inclusion of the crime of aggression weakens the role of the Security Council in this regard
  6. The prosecutor's right to initiate prosecutions may open the court to political influence[48]


The government of India has consistently opposed the court. It abstained in the vote adopting of the statute in 1998, saying it objected to:[49]

  1. The broad definition adopted of crimes against humanity
  2. The right given to the Security Council to refer cases, delay investigations and bind non-State Parties.
  3. The use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction not being explicitly outlawed

Other anxieties about the court concern:

  1. How the principle of complementarity would be applied to the Indian criminal justice system
  2. The inclusion of non-international conflicts - and hence Kashmir and other disputes within India - in the category of war crimes
  3. The power of the prosecutor to initiate prosecutions[50]


Pakistan has supported the aims of the International Court and voted for the Rome Statute in 1998. However, Pakistan has not signed the agreement on the basis of reservations.

  1. The fact that the Statute does not provide for reservations by countries.
  2. The arbitrary nature of the initiations of proceedings.
  3. Provisional arrest; something which is against the Pakistani legal system, where a person has to be charged within 24 hours.
  4. Lack of immunity for heads of state.

In addition, Pakistan (which is the world's largest supplier of peacekeepers) has, like the United States expressed reservations about the potential use of politically motivated charges against peacekeepers.[51]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c Coalition for the International Criminal Court, 18 July 2008. States Parties to the Rome Statute of the ICCPDF. Accessed 25 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d United Nations Treaty Collection. Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Accessed 1 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Amnesty International, The International Criminal Court: Table of signatures and ratifications of the Rome Statute. Accessed 2007-07-18.
  4. ^ African ICC Members Mull Withdrawal Over Bashir Indictment, Voice of America, 2009-06-08
  5. ^ Amnesty International, Implementation. Accessed 2007-01-23. See also Article 86 of the Rome Statute
  6. ^ Part 9 of the Rome Statute. Accessed 2007-01-23.
  7. ^ [See Article 17 of the Rome Statute
  8. ^ Amnesty International, The International Criminal Court: Summary of draft and enacted implementing legislation. Accessed 2007-01-23.
  9. ^ The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Article 18. Accessed 2007-01-23.
  10. ^ U.S. Announces Intent Not to Ratify International Criminal Court Treaty, American Society of International Law, 2002-05-01, accessed on 2007-01-23.
  11. ^ The ratification and implementation of the Statute of the International Criminal Court in Bahrain, FIDH, 2006-07-10.
  12. ^ Rights push for key court pact, Gulf Daily News, 2006-12-21.
  13. ^ ICC-AFRICA, Coalition for the International Criminal Court, September 2006
  14. ^ The American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the International Criminal Court. Ratifications & Declarations. Accessed 2006-12-04.
  15. ^ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 30 June 2002. Israel and the International Criminal Court. Accessed 2002-06-30.
  16. ^ Lawyers urge Kuwait to become ICC member, Kuwait Times, 2007-03-26, accessed on 2007-04-05
  17. ^ a b JDV seeks dialogues on political killings before ratification of ICC, Balita, 2006-08-16
  18. ^ PNP backs Philippine ratification of int’l criminal court, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 2008-04-14
  19. ^ War on drugs returns to bite Thaksin, Bangkok Post, 2006-11-23
  20. ^ Statement by Ukraine regarding the Report of the International Criminal Court, UN, 2006-10-09.
  21. ^
  22. ^ Decision of Constitutional Court of Ukraine (Ukrainian)
  23. ^ "Clinton's statement on war crimes court". BBC News. 2000-12-31. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ U.S. News & World Report: "The Brief for a World Court, A permanent war-crimes tribunal is coming, but will it have teeth?" By Thomas Omestad; Posted 9/28/97
  26. ^ Amnesty International. US Threats to the International Criminal Court. Accessed 2006-11-23.
  27. ^ Brett D. Schaefer, 9 January 2001. Overturning Clinton's Midnight Action on the International Criminal Court. The Heritage Foundation. Accessed 2006-11-23.
  28. ^ Curtis A Bradley, May 2002. U.S. Announces Intent Not to Ratify International Criminal Court Treaty. The American Society of International Law. Accessed 2006-11-23.
  29. ^ John R Bolton, 6 May 2002. International Criminal Court: Letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. US Department of State. Accessed 2006-11-23.
  30. ^ a b Coalition for the International Criminal Court, 2006. Status of US Bilateral Immunity Acts. Accessed 2006-11-23.
  31. ^ a b Human Rights Watch, The ICC and the Security Council: Resolution 1422. Accessed 2007-01-11.
  32. ^ BBC News, 20 March 2006. Q&A: International Criminal Court. Accessed 2007-01-11.
  33. ^, 26 March 2007. “Yemen becomes fourth Arab country to ratify ICC statute”. Accessed 27 March 2007.
  34. ^ Amnesty International, 27 March 2007. Amnesty International urges Yemen to complete the ratification of the Rome Statute. Accessed 2007-04-01.
  35. ^ News Yemen, 8 April 2007. “Legal controversy in Parliament over ICC Rome Statute”. Accessed 2007-04-10.
  36. ^, 9 April 2007. “Yemen parliament recants vote for ICC”. Accessed 2007-04-10.
  37. ^ United Nations Committee Against Torture, 25 July 2006. Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 19 of the Convention. PDF, HTML. Accessed 2007-01-23.
  38. ^ a b Amnesty International, Fact sheet: Indonesia and the International Criminal Court. DOC, HTML. Accessed 2007-01-23.
  39. ^ RI to join global criminal court, Jakarta Post, 2007-02-11, accessed on 2007-02-11
  40. ^ Iraq Pulls Out Of International Criminal Court, Radio Free Europe, 2005-03-02
  41. ^ Groups Urge Iraq to Join International Criminal Court, Common Dreams, 2005-08-08
  42. ^ Justice campaigners say US urged Lebanon not to join International Criminal Court, Daily Star (Lebanon), 2009-03-12
  43. ^ Asian Parliamentarians’ Consultation on the Universality of the International Criminal Court, “An action plan for the Working Group of the Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC and the rule of law on the universality of the Rome Statute in Asia”. PDF, HTML 16 August 2006. Accessed 2007-01-23.
  44. ^ Council Common Position on the International Criminal Court, American Coalition for the International Criminal Court, 2003-06-13
  45. ^ Turkey, EU and the International Criminal Court, Journal of Turkish Weekly, 2005-04-14
  46. ^ Constitutional Amendments, Secretariat-General for EU Affairs (Turkey), 2004-05-10
  47. ^ Turkey shelves accession to world criminal court, Zaman, 2008-01-20, accessed on 2008-01-20
  48. ^China's Attitude Towards the ICC”, Lu Jianping and Wang Zhixiang, Journal of International Criminal Justice, 2005-07-06.
  49. ^ Explanation of vote on the adoption of the Statute of the International Criminal Court, Embassy of India, 1998-07-17
  50. ^ India and the ICC, Usha Ramanathan, Journal of International Criminal Law, 2005.
  51. ^


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