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International Criminal Court

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International Criminal Court


Decision 2011/168/CFSP on EU support for the International Criminal Court



  • It aims to advance universal support for the Rome Statute, which is the governing treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), whilst preserving its integrity, independence and smooth functioning.
  • It also positions the EU to support cooperation with the ICC along with the implementation of the principle of complementarity*.


Advancing universal support

  • The EU and its 28 countries are to advance universal support for the Rome Statute through negotiations and political dialogues with non-EU countries or regional organisations; and/or through adopting initiatives that promote the values, principles and rules of the Statute.
  • The EU and its countries must cooperate with non-EU countries, international institutions and non-governmental organisations in order to advance universal support.
  • EU countries are to share their experience regarding the implementation of the Statute with non-EU countries. Moreover, the EU and its countries may contribute technical or financial assistance to said non-EU countries.

Guaranteeing the independence of the ICC

In order to do so, the EU and its countries:

  • encourage other countries to pay their contribution to the budget of the ICC;
  • encourage accession to and ratification of the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the Court;
  • support the development of training and assistance for judges, prosecutors, officials and counsel in work related to the ICC.

Supporting effective functioning

  • The EU and its countries may enter into specific arrangements or agreements to support the efficient functioning of the ICC.
  • Full cooperation with the ICC is a prerequisite for its effective functioning. The EU and its countries take action to ensure full cooperation of non-EU countries and the ICC, including the prompt execution of arrest warrants.
  • The EU’s response to non-cooperation with the ICC by non-EU countries focuses on how the EU and its countries should handle non-cooperation.

Action Plan

The Action Plan for following up on this decision focuses on, among other things, coordinating EU activities to implement the objectives of the decision, and implementing the principle of complementarity.


It entered into force on 21 March 2011.


The ICC is an independent international organisation based in The Hague, Netherlands. Its job is to try the perpetrators of genocide*, crimes against humanity* and war crimes*. It is governed by the Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002 and has been ratified by all EU countries.


* Complementarity, in this context, is the principle by which the ICC is intended as a court of last resort, meaning that it should investigate and prosecute only when national courts have failed.

* Genocide: acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.

* Crimes against humanity: acts committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against civilian populations.

* War crimes: acts committed that violate the law of war (e.g. the Geneva Conventions). Examples include mistreating prisoners-of-war, killing hostages, or deliberately destroying cities, towns or villages.


Council Decision 2011/168/CFSP of 21 March 2011 on the International Criminal Court and repealing Common Position 2003/444/CFSP (OJ L 76, 22.3.2011, pp. 56-58)

last update 16.02.2016