Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
International Criminal Court

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.

This summary is archived.
Languages and formats available
HTML html ES html DA html DE html EL html EN html FR html IT html NL html PT html FI html SV
Multilingual display
Miscellaneous information
  • Archived: true

International Criminal Court

The European Union upholds the effective functioning of the International Criminal Court and promotes universal support for it by encouraging universal acceptance of the Rome Statute.


Council Common Position 2003/444/CFSP of 16 June 2003 on the International Criminal Court [Official Journal L 150 of 18.06.2003].


The consolidation of the rule of law, respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, the preservation of peace and the strengthening of international security are among the priorities of the external relations of the European Union (EU). The Union is strongly committed to promoting the early establishment of the International Criminal Court and its Rome Statute, which represent a key prerequisite for achieving these priorities.

The Rome Statute came into force on 1 July 2002 and the Court has been operating since that time (although its officers were only finally elected in June 2003).

Pursuant to this Common Position, the Union aims to promote the proper functioning of and universal support for the Court. This Common Position repeals and replaces Common Position 2001/443/CFSP.

This Common Position stipulates that the Union and its Member States should make every effort to ensure that the greatest possible number of States take part in the International Criminal Court, bearing this objective in mind during negotiations (both bilateral and multilateral) and in political dialogue with third countries and regional organisations. Initiatives designed to promote the values, principles and measures set out in the Rome Statute are also to be adopted. Cooperation is to be established with the States, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and any representatives of civil society concerned.

Member states are to share will all interested states their own experiences on the issues related to the implementation of the Rome Statute. They are to provide the technical and financial assistance required for preparations for taking part and implementing the Statute in third countries.

In order to guarantee the independence of the Court, the Union and its Member States are to:

  • encourage States Parties to the Court to remit the contribution due from them;
  • contribute to the provision of assistance and training for judges, prosecutors and officials of the Court;
  • encourage the signature and ratification of the Agreement on the privileges and immunity of the Court by the States Parties.

The Union and the Member States remind third countries of the Council Conclusions of 30 September 2002. The conclusions take note of the fact that the United States has entered into bilateral agreements with certain States Parties relating to conditions for the surrender of an individual to the Court. The Council has laid down guidelines for Member States when considering the possibility of signing such agreements or arrangements with the United States:

  • international agreements between an ICC State Party and the United States should be taken into account;
  • the conclusion of agreements with the United States regarding the conditions for surrendering an individual to the Court is inconsistent with the obligations of ICC States Parties.;
  • the arrangements entered into must ensure that persons who have committed crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court do not enjoy impunity;
  • any arrangements relating to the nationality of individuals not to be surrendered should only cover persons who are not nationals of an ICC State Party;
  • State or diplomatic immunity must be respected;
  • an agreement must only cover individuals present in a State because they have been sent by another State;
  • agreements may be subject to time limits;
  • agreements must be ratified in accordance with the constitutional procedures of each State.

The Council also proposes developing a full political dialogue with the United States, mainly concerning:

  • the possible re-engagement of the United States in ICC processes;
  • the setting-up of cooperation between the United States and the Court in specific cases;
  • the application of US law regarding protection of members of the US armed services.

In February 2004, the Council adopted an action plan to follow on from this Common Position. It consists of three parts (coordination of the Union's activities; universal applicability and authority of the Rome Statute and the independence and proper functioning of the Court). It also defines the remit of Union activities to support he International Criminal Court.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Common Position2003/444/CFSP



OJ L 150 of 18.6.2003


Agreement between the International Criminal Court and the European Union on cooperation and assistance [Official Journal L 115 of 28.4.2006].

This Agreement lays down the means to effect cooperation and assistance between the International Criminal Court and the European Union, via, inter alia, consultation regarding questions of common interest and regularly exchanging information and documents which are of interest to both parties. This Agreement was approved by Council Decision 2006/313/CFSP of 10 April 2006 [Official Journal L 115 of 28.4.2006].

Last updated: 21.08.2007