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This Day in History

World History

Friday, July 17, 1998. :   The International Criminal Court is established.

     The International Criminal Court is an international court that meets in The Hague, Netherlands. It was established as a permanent court to preside over matters of crimes of serious concern to the international community such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

The concept of an international tribunal was proposed by the Commission of Responsibilities during the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, following World War 1, although the notion was first mooted at the Hague Peace Conference of 1907. The idea of a permanent international court to deal with atrocities was raised again on various occasions, and gained further impetus after the United Nations was established. The Cold War hindered further development, despite two statutes being drafted by the International Law Commission (ILC) at the request of the UN General Assembly. However, the need for an international court became more pressing as stories of atrocities committed in former Yugoslavia and Rwanda emerged in the 1990s.

The founding treaty of the ICC is the Rome Statute. On 17 July 1998, 120 States representing all regions of the globe adopted the Rome Statute. The Rome Statute took effect in 2002, after the required number of 60 States ratified it. Although the ICC is independent of the UN, the two bodies signed an agreement governing their institutional relationship on 4 October 2004.

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