Building a more just world

The ICC is determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression.

Here’s our story…

This exhibit

Welcome to the exhibit Building a More Just World. The exhibit reflects on how justice matters to individuals and communities affected by crimes, and to the world as we strive together to achieve lasting peace. This exhibit also shows the Courtroom itself as well as some of the daily activities, or practical matters of justice, required to make justice happen.

The exhibit aims to raise awareness of the ICC and the crimes under its jurisdiction, and to ignite in viewers compassion for survivors of the world most atrocious crimes and a passion for international justice.

Together, we can strive to prevent these crimes. Together, we can build a more just world.

See this exhibit on tour or display this exhibit in your home country. To learn more, visit our website at

Our goals

The International Criminal Court tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community:
-- War crimes
-- Genocide
-- Crimes against humanity
-- Crimes of aggression

First judges of the ICC, 2003.

Through international criminal justice, the Court is determined to end impunity, thus helping to prevent such atrocities from happening again.

The Court works in the field to ensure communities affected by crimes are part of the judicial process.

People from affected communities in CAR attending ICC Outreach sessions to learn about the Court, 2008.

The Court is supported by countries that have ratified or acceded to its founding treaty, the Rome Statute.

The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, founding treaty of the Court, is the management oversight and legislative body of the International Criminal Court. These States are also working to harmonise their laws with the Rome Statute. Photo: UN Photo/Marie Frechon

Where we work
Based in the Hague

The Hague in the Netherlands, city of Peace and Justice

The ICC is an integral part of The Hague’s landscape of international organisations, and we value our good relationship with the city of The Hague and its inhabitants.

Permanent Premises

Mayor of The Hague, Mr Jozias van Aartsen, leads panel to choose best architectural design for the Court’s new permanent premises.

Press Conference for the unveiling of the design for the Court’s new permanent premises.

Groundbreaking Ceremony of the ICC Permanent Premises, Tuesday 16 April 2013

ICC Permanent Premises Photo: Simon Bosch Photography

ICC Permanent Premises Photo: Simon Bosch Photography

Where we work

Situation 1: Uganda
Situation 2: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Situation 3: Darfur (Sudan)
Situation 4: Central African Republic (CAR)
Situation 5: Kenya
Situation 6: Libya
Situation 7: Mali
Situation 8: Côte d’Ivoire
Situation 9: Central African Republic (CAR) II
Situation 10: Georgia
Situation 11: Burundi

Situation 1: Uganda

Uganda referred this situation to the Court in 2003, and an investigation was opened in 2004. Arrest warrants have been issued for Joseph Kony and other top members of the LRA, who remain at large.

Situation 2: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The Court opened an investigation in the DRC in 2004, upon the DRC government’s own referral. The Court’s first verdict in the case The Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was in this situation and addressed the issue of child soldiers.

Situation 3: Darfur (Sudan)

For this situation the Court does not work within Sudan, but meets with affected communities in refugee camps in Eastern Chad and with the Darfuri diaspora throughout Europe. The Court opened an investigation in this situation in 2005 and has issued arrest warrants against Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir and others, who remain at large. The case against Mr Al Bashir is the first to deal with the issue of genocide and the first arrest warrant issued by the ICC against a sitting head of State.

Situation 4: Central African Republic (CAR)

The Court opened an investigation in CAR in 2007, after receiving the government of CAR’s referral.

Situation 5: Kenya

The Court opened an investigation in Kenya in 2010 regarding the 2007/2008 post-election violence in the country.

Situation 6: Libya

Investigations opened in March 2011 regarding the situation in Libya, following a unanimous referral by the United Nations Security Council. Allegations in the situation include murder and persecution. Pictured here: refugees from Libya queue for food at Tunisia transit camp. Photo: UN Photo/ OCHA/ David

Situation 7: Mali

In 2012, the situation in Mali was referred to the ICC by the Malian government and investigations were commenced in 2013 regarding alleged war crimes and destruction of cultural heritage on Malian territory since January 2012. Photo: UN Photo/ Marco Dormino

Situation 8: Côte d’Ivoire

In October 2011, Pre-trial Chamber judges authorized the ICC Prosecutor to open investigations regarding the situation in Côte d’Ivoire since 28 November 2010.

Situation 9: Central African Republic (CAR) II

The second investigation regarding CAR, this time regarding the situation since 2012 on its territory, was launched in September 2014 after a government referral to the Court. Pictured here: IDP Camp at M’poko Airport, Bangui. Photo: UN Photo/ Catianne Tijerina

Situation 10: Georgia

In January 2016, the Prosecutor opened an investigation proprio motu for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the context of an international armed conflict in 2008. In a 3 month span, 850 persons allegedly died and more than 100,000 civilians fled their homes. Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten

Situation 11: Burundi

In October 2017, the Prosecutor opened an investigation proprio motu for alleged crimes against humanity committed in Burundi or by nationals of Burundi outside of Burundi since 26 April 2015 until 26 October 2017. Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret

Our history
Rome Statute

Signing the Rome Statute, 17 July 1998.

Key Moments


Rome Statute is created and signed

Rome: The conference for finalizing and signing the ICC’ s founding treaty, now called the Rome Statute, 15 June - 17 July 1998.
Supporters gathering outside the Rome Conference for creating the Court\'s founding treaty, held from 15 June - 17 July 1998 in Rome.
Photo: Filipo Monteforte/AnSA


Rome Statute is ratified and enters into force

States continue to ratify the Rome Statute in the lead up to 1 July 2002, when the number of States exceeded 60, the minimum number for the Rome Statute to enter into force.
First Session of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, 2002. Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider


- The ICC’s first judges and prosecutor take oath
- Uganda is the ICC’s first situation

First ICC judges with Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, the President of the ASP, HRH Prince Zeid Ra\'ad Zeid Al Hussein of Jordan, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Outreach activity with Ugandan school children. Uganda referred the situation in its territory to the Court in 2003.


- The Trust Fund for Victims Inaugurated
- Situation 2: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks at the Inauguration Ceremony for the Trust Fund for Victims, 2004.
Situation in the DRC: ICC staff updates affected communities in the DRC on judicial proceedings.


Situation 3: Darfur, Sudan

Situation in Darfur: UNSC refers Darfur, Sudan, to the ICC, 2004.
Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
An Outreach Unit staff member showing pictures of the suspects in this situation at an Outreach session with local leaders (sheikhs and sheikhas) in the camp in Bredjing, eastern Chad, 2010.


First hearing starts: Pre-trial hearings ensure there is sufficient evidence for trial

Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo in ICC Courtroom I, 2006. Photo: Hans Hoordijk
Judges of Pre-Trail Chamber I, hearing the Lubanga case to judge whether there is sufficient evidence for trial. Photo: Hans Hoordijk


Situation 4: Central African Republic (CAR)

An Outreach Unit staff member explains ICC judicial developments to affected communities in the situation in CAR.
Situation in CAR: People from affected communities in CAR attending ICC Outreach sessions to learn about the Court.


10th anniversary of the Rome Statute

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulates ICC President Kirsch on the 10th anniversary of the Rome Statute.
Panel on the 10th anniversary of the Rome Statute, 2008.


ICC’s first and second trials begin

ICC’s first trial begins: The charges were confirmed against Mr Lubanga at the Pre-Trial stage and his trial began on 26 January 2009.
ICC’s second trial begins for Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga, 2009. Photos: Michael Kooren


- Situation 5: Kenya
- Review Conference of the Rome Statute

Situation in Kenya: Outreach session with civil society representatives.
ICC’s third trial begins in the Bemba case, 2010. Photo: ANP/Ed Oudenaarden


- Situations 6 & 7: Libya and Côte d’Ivoire

Situation in Libya: Luis Moreno-Ocampo at a meeting of the UNSC on Libya, 5 June 2012.
Photo: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine
Situation in Côte d’Ivoire: Post-election violence.
Photo: Amnesty International


- First conviction
- First acquittal

Trial Chamber I convicted Thomas Lubanga Dyilo of war crimes involving child soldiers. Photo: Micheal Kooren
First acquittal: Trial Chamber II acquits Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui of the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, 2012. Photo: ANP | Robin van Lonkhuisjen


- Situation 8: Mali

ICC’s fourth trial begins in the Ruto and Sang case, 2013.”
Photo: UN | MINUSMA | Sophie Ravier


- Second conviction
- Situation 9: Central African Republic II

Second conviction: Trial Chamber II convicted Germain Katanga, as an accessory, of one crime against humanity and four war crimes in the DRC.
Situation in CAR: Renewed violence since 2012
Photo: UNHCR/A.Greco


ICC’s fifth and sixth trial begins

Fifth trial begins: In the Court’s first Article 70 case, five suspects are accused of “offences against the administration of justice” in connection with the Bemba case, including bribing witnesses to give false testimony, 2015.
Sixth trial begins: Bosco Ntaganda accused of 13 counts of war crimes and 5 counts of crimes against humanity.


- Situation 10: Georgia
- ICC’s seventh, eighth, and ninth trials begin

ICC investigations open in Georgia, 2016. Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten
In 2016, the ICC’s seventh, eighth, and ninth trials open in the Al Mahdi case, Ongwen case, and the Gbagbo and Blé Goudé case


- Situation 11: Burundi
- ICC receives the Stockholm Human Rights Awards

ICC investigations open in Burundi, 2017. Photo: UN Photo/Martine Perret
ICC receives 2017 Stockholm Human Rights Award. Photo: Tom Knutson

Justice Matters to...

individuals. Victims deserve justice. Survivors deserve a voice in the justice process.

Justice Matters

The most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished…

“This cause... is the cause of all humanity”.
– Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Justice Matters to...

A Georgian villager protests the bomb attacks on his home, which ripped into his house and left him homeless. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

A young girl who was burned inside her home when her village was attacked and pillaged during the conflict in northern Uganda. Many civilians injured in the conflict have gone without treatment for years. Photo: Whitney Curtis

Justice Matters to...

Former child soldier: Mario, 13, shows drawings from his fellow students and tells how they were abducted and used as child soldiers in the DRC. Photo: AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo

“There are an estimated 250,000 child soldiers in the world today. It is estimated that 40% of all child soldiers are girls. They are often used as 'wives' (i.e., sex slaves) of the male combatants”. – War Child UK

Former child soldier: Margaret, 15, tells how she was abducted and used as a child soldier in Northern Uganda in 2003. She is now undergoing rehabilitation. Photo: UNICEF/04-1159/Roger Lemoyne

Justice Matters to...

Woman in Georgia surveys the damage to property after a conflict. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

A homeless resident of bombed apartments in Georgia. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

Justice Matters to...

Savilla, 14, tells how she was taken in June 2009 from Baloko in the context of the conflict in northern Uganda. She was beaten and raped. She was released when she was injured and could not walk. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale/VII

Justice Matters to...

Konsi was mutilated in the context of the conflict in northern Uganda. She was thereafter abandoned by her husband to raise their three children alone, and stigmatized by her community. The Trust Fund for Victims supported her surgery for her nose, forehead, and upper lip. Following surgery, she explained: “I want to go to church to show them that the God I believe in is bigger than them”. The Trust Fund for Victims was established by the Rome Statute. Separate from the Court, but in response to the Court’s decisions, the Trust Fund for Victims offers reparations and assistance to victims of crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction. Photo: Brett Morton/AVSI

Justice Matters to...

A displaced woman after arriving in Gori, Georgia. She had been hiding in a basement for one week. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

Hundreds of victims in Ituri, the DRC, are seeking assistance to get prosthetic limbs in order to help them return to work. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims

Justice Matters to...


Justice Matters to...

Outreach officers engaging with Darfuri women in an IDP camp in eastern Chad. The faces in this photo have been blurred for the protection of those in this community.

Widespread or systematic rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, and enforced sterilization are war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A woman living in Kassab Camp for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Kutum, North Darfur, 2012. Photo: ICC-CPI

UN agencies estimate that between 100,000 and 250,000 women were raped in Rwanda during the three months of genocide in 1994, more than 60,000 women were raped during the civil war in Sierra Leone (1991-2002), more than 40,000 in Liberia (1989-2003), up to 60,000 in the former Yugoslavia (1992-1995), and at least 200,000 in the DRC during the past 12 years of war.

The Court’s Outreach officers engage with groups of women, to specifically address their concerns and hear their stories in an environment that will respect the sensitive nature of their experiences. Photo: ICC-CPI

Justice Matters to...

People flee heavy fighting near Bunia, DRC, in 2004. Photo: UN Photo/A Burridge

Aerial view of IDP camps in the DRC, 2008. Photo: UN Photo/Marie Frechon

Mother and child in an IDP camp near Naivasha, Kenya, 2012. Photo: ICC-CPI

Aleko, age 7, who was displaced by fighting, is playing in the airport camp in Gori, Georgia. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

Justice Matters to...

Civilians and military mingle at a concert for peace help in Tskhinvali, Georgia, after the fighting. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

Student attending a peaceschool in Ituri, the DRC. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims

Women at an ICC Outreach session in Bunia, the DRC. Photo: ICC-CPI

Former child soldiers in North Kivu board a helicopter flight arranged by the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) for repatriation to undisclosed regions or areas of the country, 2009. Photo: UN Photo/Marie Frechon

Justice Matters to...

Situation in Darfur, Sudan: Local community members gathering for an Outreach session in the camp of Treguine, eastern Chad. The faces in this photo have been blurred for the protection of those in this community. Photo: ICC-CPI

Justice Matters to...

Photos of the family of victims killed in a bombing in Gori, Georgia, left on the bed during packing to evacuate. Three members of the family were killed in the attack. Photo: Marcus Bleasdale

Justice Matters to...

Outreach session in Uganda Photo: ICC-CPI

Members of communities affected by crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction attend Court Outreach sessions to get updates and pose their questions to the Court. The Court's Outreach Unit works in close association with NGOs and other partners to enhance its impact and make justice meaningful to the communities.

Community members in the Central African Republic watching proceedings of the first days of the trial in the case The Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. Photo: ICC-CPI

Outreach session in the DRC. Photo: ICC-CPI

Outreach session in Georgia. Photo: Pete Muller

Justice Matters to...

Trust Fund for Victims
The Trust Fund for Victims offers reparations and assistance to victims of crimes under the Court’s jurisdiction. With the help of voluntary donors, it offers physical rehabilitation, material support, and psychological rehabilitation to victims. The Trust Fund can also implement Court-ordered reparations.

Prosthetics and other surgeries

In northern Uganda, the Trust Fund for Victims has provided prosthetic and orthotic devices and physiotherapy. An estimated 1,200 victims of torture, mutilation, disfigurement, amputation, burns and other crimes against civilians have been assisted. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims


Students supported by the Trust Fund for Victims attend a peace school in Ituri, DRC. Students work together to create stories about the underlying causes to the conflict and share messages for their communities around peace and reconciliation. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims

The Trust Fund for Victims’ international and local partners implement projects which combine a variety of activities, including micro-credit, village savings and loan associations, vocational training, and counseling. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims

A group who participated in savings and loans assistance in the Trust Fund for Victims programme in the DRC. The groups encouraged participants to work in cooperatives to generate income. Savings and loans groups also become support groups for its members, and used as collective counselling by sharing their experiences, overcoming their difficulties, and encouraging each other. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims


"God forgive me because my heart was preparing revenge against my executioner. Help me! How can I forgive? If I do not, I'll end up committing a crime in the future". - Shared testimonies by children from a peace school supported by the Trust Fund for Victims in Ituri, the DRC. Photo: Trust Fund for Victims

Justice Matters...

to The World as we strive together to achieve global security and lasting peace.

Justice Matters to...
The World

“We are here, today, largely because of the immense contribution of civil society…. That this court exists is a testament to their vision, their tenacity and determination, their sense of justice and humanity”. – Former Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon

Justice Matters to...
The World

17 July: Day of International Criminal Justice

Each year on 17 July, the Day of International Criminal Justice, people across the globe unite to reaffirm their commitment to building a more just world. The above map demonstrates all of the countries that participated in the ICC’s first commemoration of 17 July.

In its first 17 July call for photographs on the theme "Justice Matters", the ICC received over 500 photographs from 84 countries. Below are just a few of the photographs, from ambassadors, legal professionals, students, leaders, NGOs, and many others from across the globe. This small selection represents all regions of the world and is a symbol of the global support for all those who stand for justice.

We have commemorated 17 July every year since the official day was created in 2010. More information on 17 July commemorations can be found here.

Justice Matters to...
The World

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and ICC President Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, 2018. Photo: UN

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed and ICC President Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, 2018. Photo: UN

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda & Chair Walter Stevens following an informal briefing to the EU Peace & Security Council. Photo: UN

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and ICC President Silvia Fernández, 2015. Photo: UN Photo/Evan Schneider

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and ICC President Sang-Hyun Song, 2011. Photo: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and ICC President Phillip Kirsch, 2005. Photo: ICC-CPI

The United Nations Security Council has referred the situations in Darfur (Sudan) and Libya to the Court. Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

H.E. Thea Tsulukiani, Minister of Justice of Georgia with ICC President Judge SilviaFernández de Gurmendi

ICC President and First Vice-President with delegation from the East African Court ofJustice Photo: ICC-CPI

ICC Registrar Mr Herman von Hebel, Central African Minister of Justice H.E. Mr Aristide Sokambi and ICC President Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, at the ICC headquarters in The Hague (Netherlands) on 2 July 2015

Visit to the ICC by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

ICC President with Delegation of Members of the Parliament of Ukraine

President of United Republic of Tanzania visits ICC

ICC delegation meets with Lesotho King

President of Croatia visits the ICC

The Elders visit the ICC, 2010. From left to right: President Fernando H Cardoso, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi, President Mary Robinson, ICC President Sang-Hyun Song, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter, Prime Minister Gro Brundtland, President Martti Ahtisaari, Ms Ela Bhatt, and Mr Kofi Annan at the seat of the Court in The Hague. Photo: ICC-CPI

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at Global Summit to end sexual violence in conflict.

Mr Doudou Diène, United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights in Côte d\'Ivoire visits the Court, 2012. Photo: ICC-CPI

President of Ireland Mary McAleese visits the ICC, 2010. Photo: ICC-CPI

Benjamin Ferencz and Angelina Jolie meet with ICC Prosecutor before hearing in the case against Mr Lubanga, 2011. Photo: Frank Schinski

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow listens to ICC Prosecutor briefing on the situation in Darfur, Sudan, 2009. Photo: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Delegation from Mali visits the Court, 2012. Photo: ICC-CPI

President of Chile Michelle Bachelet visits the ICC, 2009. Photo: ICC-CPI

Coalition for International Criminal Court briefs press. Pictured here: Richard Dicker (left), Director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, William Pace (centre), Convener of the Coalition for the ICC, and Stephen A. Lamony (right), Africa Outreach Liaison and Situations Advisor for the Coalition.

States sign enforcement and cooperation agreements with the Court. Photo: ICC-CPI

Justice Matters to...
The World

Over 120 countries are States Parties, offering cooperation and support for international criminal law...

Support and Cooperation

"First, if the ICC is to have the reach it should possess ... if it is to become an effective deterrent as well as an avenue of justice ... it must have universal support. Only then will perpetrators have no place to hide".
– Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

State Parties to the Rome Statute

Daily Matters of Justice

Find out who is in the Courtroom and exactly what it takes to make justice happen.

The Court in session, 2016.

Judges of the International Criminal Court's Trial Chamber I about to enter the Courtroom for a hearing in the case The Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. Photo: Frank Schinski



“The embodiment of our collective conscience”.
– Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan

Photo: Frank Schinski

Photo: Frank Schinski


True justice is achieved when voices of victims are heard and their suffering is addressed.

ICC Judge Sylvia Steiner communicates with a victim in the Central African Republic via video link. The victim shared his views before the Court during a hearing in open session in the case The Prosecutor v Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo. Photo: ICC-CPI

"I want the world to know what happened".

This victim testified that she was raped by 16 soldiers during an attack on her village in the Central African Republic, and subsequently shunned by her community. With moral support from her sister, she travelled from her village to The Hague to testify in Court. She is the first victim in the Court\'s history to testify without any protection measures, such as face or voice distortion. Photo: Frank Schinski

"I expect justice to be done".

This victim is the second to testify in open Court, without protection measures. Photo: Frank Schinski

The ICC offers victims the opportunity to share their views before the Court. Separate from being a witness for the Prosecution or Defense, victims authorized to participate in Court proceedings can tell their stories and present their views and concerns in the Courtroom.

The Court is offering both a unique forum for victims to become an active participant in prosecuting the perpetrators of the horrible crimes they have suffered, and a cathartic and empowering process for both individual victims and affected communities as a whole.

Court staff member explains how to fill out the form to be authorized to participate in ICC proceedings as a victim.

The Registry offers counsel support to the legal representatives of victims through the Office of Public Counsel for Victims. Pictured here : Paolina Massidda, Principal Counsel, and Sara Pellet. Photo: AP/Peter Dejong

A victim meeting with his legal representative after a hearing. Photo: Frank Schinski

Legal representative of victims during a hearing. Photo: ICC-CPI


Supporting the Court

The Registry supports the Court so it can conduct fair and effective public proceedings. The Registry is responsible for general court management, security, public information, court records, translation and interpretation, counsel support, support for victims to participate in proceedings and apply for reparations, and much more.

The Registry also coordinates Court briefings for visitors, to explain ICC procedures and raise awareness about the Court. Here, visitors receive an explanation of the E-Court system from the Public Gallery of Courtroom I. Photo: ICC-CPI

The Court\'s Registry coordinates press conferences and creates other information tools and resources for the press, ensuring global coverage of ICC judicial developments. Photo: ICC-CPI

Court interpreter looking down on the Courtroom from the interpretation booth. Photo: ICC-CPI

Every hearing is interpreted into both English and French, the working languages of the Court. The Court has so far offered Courtroom interpretation in Ahur, Arabic, English, French, Lingala, Sango, Swahili, and Zaghawa.

Court interpreters. Photo: Frank Schinski

Filming Court proceedings from audiovisual booth looking onto the Courtroom. Photo: Frank Schinski

IT staff doing a final check before a hearing begins. Photo: ICC-CPI

Archive of filmed Courtroom footage. Photo: Frank Schinski

ICC security personnel with the accused in ICC Courtroom 1. Photo: AP/Peter Dejong


The mandate of the Office of the Prosecutor is to receive and analyse referrals and communications in order to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to investigate; to conduct investigations into genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes; and to conduct prosecutions before the Court of persons responsible for such crimes.

Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (right) with the Prosecution team during the opening of a trial, 2018.

Photo: ICC-CPI

The Office is responsible for the conduct of investigations (such as collecting and examining evidence, questioning persons being investigated as well as victims and witnesses). In this respect, the Statute requires the Office to extend the investigation to cover both incriminating and exonerating facts in order to establish the truth. Photo: Skylight Pictures

Evidence regarding the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Photo: Frank Schinski

Defence and defendants

The ICC holds fair, public trials and ensures that the rights of the defendants are upheld. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty after a trial. A few examples of defendants at different stages of cases are below.

Defendants have the right to choose their lawyers from among those on the List of Counsel before the ICC, maintained by the Registry.

Summonses to appear and warrants of arrest

A summons to appear may be issued by the ICC, in which case the subject may appear voluntarily. Alternatively, the Court may issue a warrant of arrest. In this case, the Court cooperates with national authorities for the arrest and transfer of the person to the ICC Detention Centre. For example, Mr Laurent Gbagbo, former President of Côte d’Ivoire (pictured here), was transferred to the ICC on 30 November 2011. He first appeared in Court on 5 December 2011. Photo: AP/Reporters/Peter Dejong

Delays in arrests

If States are unable to make an arrest, the Court calls for support and broader cooperation to this end. For example, the arrest warrant for Mr Joseph Kony, alleged Commander-in-Chief of the Lord\'s Resistance Army (LRA) (pictured here), was issued in 2005. Though efforts have been made for his arrest, the suspect is still at large. Photo: AP/Reporters/STR

If States do not cooperate to arrest and transfer a person, the Judges may inform the Assembly of States Parties and the United Nations Security Council to take appropriate measures in order to ensure cooperation, as in the cases of non-cooperation regarding the 2009 and 2010 arrest warrants for Mr Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan (pictured here). Photo: AP/Reporters/Stuart Price

Valid for life

A warrant of arrest is valid for life, unless the Judges withdraw it. Charges are dropped against a person if he or she has been confirmed dead. For example, the charges against Muammar Gaddafi (pictured here) were dropped on 22 November 2011, following official confirmation of his death. Photo: AP/Reporters

Pre-trial stage

At the pre-trial stage, Judges decide whether there is enough evidence against the suspect for the case to go to trial. For example, Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud (pictured here) appeared before the single judge of Pre-Trial Chamber 1 on 4 April 2018.

Trial stage

At the trial stage, Judges decide if the Prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. Dominic Ongwen (pictured here) is on trial and stands accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed after July 2002 in Northern Uganda. The trial began on 6 December 2016.

Choosing lawyers

Defence Counsel Krispus Ayena Odongo (centre) with his team in the courtroom.

Mr Laurent Gbagbo’s defense team, led by Mr Altit, working in Abidjan, Côte d\'Ivoire. Photo: ICC-CPI

The Defence during the Dominic Ongwen case, December 2016.

The Defence during the Lubanga case, December 2017

The Registry offers counsel support to Defence Counsel through the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence. Pictured here, from left to right: Mohamed Youssef, Xavier-Jean Keita, Melinda Taylor. Photo: Michael Kooren

Those arrested and in the Court\'s custody are held in the ICC Detention Centre in Scheveningen, on the outskirts of The Hague. The facility is in conformity with widely accepted international standards and inspected by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Residential wing. Photo: ICC-CPI

Standard cell. Photo: ICC-CPI


"To the survivors, who are also the witnesses, and to the bereaved, we owe a justice that must bring not only retribution, but also healing".
– Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan


Potential witnesses usually give statements in the field. Photo: Skylight Pictures

Journey to The Hague

Many witnesses travel to The Hague for a short time if asked to testify in Court by the Prosecution or Defence. In addition to appearing in Court to be questioned and cross examined, many also experience -- for the first time -- jet lag, cultural differences, language barriers, a cold and damp climate and a foreign cuisine.

Photo: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

The ICC in session.

The familiarization process

Witnesses that come to the ICC to testify in Court first go through a process of "familiarization", during which ICC staff bring them into the Courtroom before the hearing starts, to allow them to sit in the witness stand for the first time and become familiar with the Courtroom. The staff members explain where the Defense lawyers, Prosecution, and Judges will sit during the hearing. They also test out the computer screens and microphones together with the witness, and answer any questions the witness might have.

Witness testifying before the International Criminal Court.

As part of the Courtroom familiarization process, ICC staff members show witnesses photos of the representatives of the parties that will be inside the Courtroom during the hearing. Photo: Frank Schinski

Witness Protection

Upon a judge’s order, the Court offers several different types of protection measures for witnesses. These can include voice and face distortion, as shown above, or conducting the hearing in closed session. If the witness is not comfortable testifying in front of the defendant, a curtain can be drawn between the witness and the Defence. The witness may also testify from a different location by remote video link. Photo: ICC-CPI

Court principals

We must be united in our resolve to defeat impunity ...
We must persevere.

Court principals

Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, ICC President.

Judge Robert Fremr, First Vice-President of the ICC.

Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Second Vice-President of the ICC.

Mrs Fatou Bensouda, ICC Prosecutor. Photo: ICC-CPI

Mr James Stewart, ICC Deputy Prosecutor. Photo: Max Koot

Mr Peter Lewis, ICC Registrar.

Former principals

Judge Philippe Kirsch, the first ICC President (2003-2009). Photo: ICC-CPI

The first Presidency of the ICC (2003-2006) from left to right: Judge Akua Kuenyehia, Judge Philippe Kirsch and Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito. Photo: Wim Beddegenoodts

The second Presidency of the ICC (2006-2009) from left to right: Judge Akua Kuenyehia, Judge Philippe Kirsch and Judge René Blattmann. Photo: Hans Hordijk

Judge Sang-Hyun Song, the second ICC President. Photo: ANP

The third Presidency of the ICC (2009-2012): Judge Fatoumata Dembele Diarra, Judge Sang Hyun-Song and Judge Hans-Peter Kaul. Photo: Max Koot

Fourth Presidency, from left to right: First Vice-President Sanji Mmasenono Monageng, President Sang Hyun-Song and Second Vice-President Cuno Tarfusser. Photo: Max Koot

Judge Silvia Alejandra Fernández de Gurmendi, ICC President. Photo: Max Koot

Judge Joyce Aluoch, First Vice-President. Photo: Max Koot

Judge Kuniko Ozaki, Second Vice-President. Photo: Max Koot

Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the first ICC Prosecutor (2003-2012). Photo: Wim Van Cappellen

First ICC Prosecutor Mr Luis Moreno-Ocampo (centre) with Deputy Prosecutors Mr Serge Brammertz (left) and Mrs Fatou Bensouda (right), 2005. Photo: Reporters

Mr Bruno Cathala, the first Registrar of the ICC (2003-2008). Photo: Wim Beddegenoodts

Ms Silvana Arbia, the second Registrar of the ICC (2008-2013). Photo: ICC-CPI

Mr Herman von Hebel, the third Registrar of the ICC.

First ICC Judges, 2003. Photo: ICC-CPI

ICC Judges, 2004. Photo: ICC-CPI

ICC Judges, 2009. Photo: Max Koot

ICC Judges, 2010. Photo: Max Koot

ICC Judges, 2012. Photo: Max Koot

ICC Judges, 2015. Photo: Max Koot

ICC Judges, 2018.

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