The Office of the Prosecutor (“Office” or “OTP”) of the International Criminal Court (“Court”) is responsible for determining whether a situation meets the legal criteria established by the Rome Statute (“Statute”) to warrant investigation by the Office.
For this purpose, the OTP conducts a preliminary examination of all communications and situations that come to its attention based on the statutory criteria and the information available.
The preliminary examination of a situation by the Office may be initiated on the basis of: a) information sent by individuals or groups, States, intergovernmental or non-governmental organisations; b) a referral from a State Party or the United Nations Security Council; or (c) a declaration lodged by a State accepting the exercise of jurisdiction by the Court pursuant to article 12(3) of the Statute.
Once a situation is thus identified, the factors set out in article 53(1) (a)-(c) of the Statute establish the legal framework for a preliminary examination. This article provides that, in order to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the situation, the Prosecutor shall consider: jurisdiction (temporal, either territorial or personal, and material); admissibility (complementarity and gravity); and the interests of justice.