International Crime

International Crime

International Criminal Law

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an intergovernmental organisation and international tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. Formed from the Treaty of Rome,  it has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for certain international crimes. The ICC may only exercise its jurisdiction in certain circumstances such as when national courts are unwilling or unable to prosecute criminals or when the United Nations Security Council or individual states refer investigations to it as it is intended to complement existing national judicial systems.

The court is able to try cases involving the following three crimes:-


  • Genocide

Genocide   is characterised by the specific intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group by killing its members or by other means. This includes  causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


  • Crimes against humanity

Crimes against humanity are serious violations committed as part of a large scale attack against any civilian population. There are 15 forms of such crimes listed in the Rome Statute which include offences such as murder, rape, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, enslavement  (particularly of women and children), sexual slavery, torture, apartheid and deportation.


  • War crimes

War crimes are grave breaches of the Geneva conventions in the context of armed conflict and include, for example, the use of child soldiers, the killing or torture of persons such as civilians or prisoners of war, intentionally directing attacks against hospitals, historic monuments, or buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes.

A fourth crime may soon fall within the ICC’s jurisdiction, namely the crime of aggression which is the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, integrity or independence of another State. The definition of this crime was adopted through amending the Rome Statute at the first Review Conference of the Statute in 2010. For these amendments to come into force, they must be ratified by at least 30 States and then voted upon by States Parties in 2017.

The court operates an approved List of Counsel and List of Assistants to Counsel and runs a scheme to help the funding of cases for defendants. Steven Bird was admitted to the List of Counsel in 2016 and philippa Southwell admitted to the List of Assistants to Counsel at the same time.

Currently the firm is advising an individual in relation to an ICC investigation  which is at an early stage.