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Part 2 Jurisdiction, Admissibility, and Applicable Law: Compétence, Recevabilité, Et Droit Applicable, Art.5 Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court/Crimes relevant de la compétence de la Cour

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: 16 July 2024

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

This chapter comments on Article 5 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 5 sets out the subject-matter jurisdiction of the Court. It declares that the jurisdiction is limited to ‘the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole’. It lists the four crimes over which the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction: (i) the crime of genocide; (ii) crimes against humanity; (iii) war crimes; and (iv) the crime of aggression. The chapter argues that the function of Article 5 seems largely symbolic, a consequence of the drafting history. At its beginnings, when it was article 22 of the International Law Association 1993 draft, article 5 was described as the ‘core’ or the ‘heart’ of the Court's jurisdiction ratione materiae, providing an enumeration of crimes whose detailed description was to be left to treaties, customary law, and judicial interpretation. But the Preparatory Committee insisted upon precise definitions, and as the texts emerged — they became articles 6, 7, and 8 of the Statute — the function of article 5 became increasingly redundant.

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