Scope of the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over War Crimes Committed in non-International Armed Conflicts

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, Shahid Beheshty University, Tehran, Iran


Punishment of perpetrators of war crimes in armed conflicts was one of the long-standing ambitions of the international community, which was partially achieved by the establishment of the International Criminal Court. The Court's jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes committed in non-international armed conflict is subject to the establishment of armed conflict. Given that the Statute does not define the term non-international armed conflict, in this article we intend to use the applicable law of the Court to define this concept. The statute is inspired by humanitarian law and humanitarian law generally requires two conditions for the application of humanitarian law to non-international armed conflicts: organization of armed group and intensity of violence. What creates ambiguity in the statute is the term protracted armed conflict in paragraph(f)of Article8(2)of the Statute. The existence of this phrase in the Statute in the first place raises the doubt that the Statute, in addition to the existing threshold in common Article3 and the Additional Protocol II, has created a new threshold for non-international armed conflict. In this article, we also try to prove that by examining the history of drafting articles related to war crimes, the practice of the court and the doctrine that threshold of application of the regulations of war crimes is the same according to the statute and to enforce its rules, the Court considers the lower threshold, which is the intensity of violence and the organization of armed groups, and the protracted armed conflict is one of the criteria for determining the intensity of violence.


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