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Which countries do not recognize the International Criminal Court?

The Rome Statute is an international treaty, implemented by the ICC, to which 123 countries around the world have subscribed. It materializes the creation of an international court capable of prosecuting crimes against humanity, such as genocide and other war crimes. Although many countries supported and joined this institution, there are other countries that do not recognize the ICC and maintain a distant position with respect to this court.

Therefore, from this perspective, in this article we will analyze the implications of the ICC in the world, and which countries do not accept its jurisprudence.

What is the international criminal court and what is its function?

The International Criminal Court is an independent and impartial institution, which functions as a court of last resort to prosecute the most serious crimes under international law. It is an international, permanent and universal court that does not affect the sovereignty of member states. Acting under the principle of complementarity, to urge national systems to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of these crimes.

Its function is to investigate events associated with crimes against humanity that occurred after the year of its creation in 2002. Thus, investigations can only be initiated following a referral by a State Party or the United Nations Security Council.

What is the Rome Statute and how does it affect the countries that adopted it?

The Rome Statute is the legal instrument establishing the International Criminal Court, which entered into force in 2002. In the first instance, 150 countries signed the multilateral treaty, but only 123 ratified their adherence to this institution. It does not function as a supranational body, but as an international entity that complements the legal system of the countries that signed the agreement.

For many countries that do not recognize the International Criminal Court, accepting this legal form is an attack on their sovereignty. They therefore refrain from acceding to this treaty in order to avoid infringing on their national security system through an independent body. Likewise, this idea comes as a consequence of specific events, political motivations or the political tradition of each country.

Which countries do not recognize the International Criminal Court?

Contrary to common belief, the ICC does not have jurisdiction in all territories of the world. Countries such as Bahamas, Cuba, Chile, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Suriname, and the United States signed the agreement in the first instance, but did not ratify their adherence to the final treaty.

On the other hand, China, India, Israel, Turkey, Pakistan, Russia, among 60 other countries, are those who openly reject the interference of the ICC in their territories. Above all, because the competences of this court function to punish acts with individual criminal responsibility, and is applicable to all persons without distinction by public, administrative or parliamentary position. What some consider as a violation of national sovereignty, due to experiences such as the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al Bashir in 2015. Who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Darfur genocide in 2003-2008, in the midst of his attendance to an African Union summit.

What are the implications of not recognizing the International Criminal Court?

One of the main consequences of being one of the countries that does not recognize the International Criminal Court is that not having the technical advice of this court slows down the development of bills to criminalize crimes against humanity in national legislatures.

Thus, by acceding to the Rome Statute, members have the opportunity to strengthen their own criminal justice systems through the tools provided by the institution. In these cases, the United Nations Secretariat, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Union provide such assistance in the drafting of legislation or its amendments.

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