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The legal nature of the International Criminal Court and the emergence of supranational elements in international criminal justice

31-03-2002 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 845, by Sascha Rolf Lüder


Sascha Rolf Lüder
is Counsellor at the General Representative of the Johanniter Order to the European Union, Brussels. Previously he was Research Associate at the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict, University of Bochum, Germany. 

In this article the author examines various questions as to the legal nature of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Article 4 of the Rome Statute specifies that the Court shall have “international legal personality”. But recognition of the ICC’s international legal personality follows in any case from the doctrine formulated by the International Court of Justice that an international organization must be deemed to have those powers which are essential to the performance of its duties. Similarly, it can be concluded that the ICC is an international organization, i.e. a new form of integrated international judicial organization, in that it is not subject to instructions from governments of States Parties. Under the Rome Statute the Court is in fact composed of various organs vested with either legislative or executive powers. Lastly the author points out that the ICC has supranational powers, for it can, for instance, issue arrest warrants with binding force for the national authorities.  

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