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Part 5 Investigation and Prosecution: Enquête Et Poursuites, Art.53 Initiation of an investigation/Ouverture d’une enquête

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, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 20 January 2021

Subject(s):
Elements of crimes — International criminal law, conduct of proceedings — Evidence

This chapter comments on Article 53 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 53 takes effect once a ‘situation’ has been triggered, whether it be the result of a Security Council referral, a State Party referral, or exercise of the proprio motu authority of the Prosecutor. It requires the Prosecutor to initiate an investigation, unless he determines that there is no ‘reasonable basis’ to proceed. It sits at the junction between prosecutorial discretion and judicial review, governing, but in only a partial manner, the selection of cases before the Court by the Prosecutor. Article 53 is closely related to article 15. Together, these two provisions define the exercise of discretion by the Prosecutor. They are the key to his independent role in the selection of situations for prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

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