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Preamble: Préambule, Preamble/Préambule

William A. Schabas

From: The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (2nd Edition)

William A Schabas

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 June 2024

Elements of crimes — Gravity of offences — International criminal law, conduct of proceedings — Evidence

This chapter comments on the Preamble to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Preamble consists of eleven paragraphs and some 305 words. It addresses several of the important principles that underpin the Statute, such as complementarity and gravity, the commitment to address impunity, and the obligations of States with respect to international justice in general. The Preamble also provides an appropriate place for the Statute to make reference to such instruments as the Charter of the United Nations. Although the final version of the Preamble provides indications as to the general philosophy animating the Statute, the earlier versions actually influenced the drafting process, most notably in the debate as to whether complementarity was merely an underlying principle or whether it required specific provisions and mechanisms for its implementation, and as regards the importance of gravity or seriousness in establishing the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Court.

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