Can international criminal court make arrests?

As a judicial institution, the ICC does not have its own police force or enforcement agency; therefore, it depends on cooperation with countries around the world to obtain support, in particular to make arrests, transfer arrested individuals to the ICC detention center in The Hague, freeze the assets of suspects and enforce sentences. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for the war crime consisting of the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. As a matter of policy, the ICC prosecutor gives priority to cases against individuals who, in her opinion, are primarily responsible for crimes within the jurisdiction of the court, regardless of their official position. Under international law, states have a responsibility to properly investigate and prosecute (or extradite for prosecution) alleged perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other international crimes.

This question and answer session addresses key issues related to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the relationship between the court and the United States. The International Criminal Court accuses the Russian president of being responsible for the war crime consisting of the illegal deportation of children from Ukraine. In all investigations, the prosecutor must ask court judges for arrest warrants and confirm charges before trial. In more than 20 years, the court has only handed down five convictions for serious crimes, and none against a senior official.

The executive order also provides for the same sanctions with respect to those who assist in certain judicial investigations, which risks having a broad paralyzing effect on cooperation with the ICC. Its creation in 2002 demonstrated the commitment of many countries to combat impunity for the worst international crimes. Even after an investigation is opened, states and individual defendants have the opportunity to challenge the legality of cases in court based on the existence of national procedures. Two weeks later, President Trump addressed the UN General Assembly, declaring that “the United States will not support or recognize the International Criminal Court.

Dawn Launiere
Dawn Launiere

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