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Official capacity and immunity of an accused before the International Criminal Court

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Chapter Summary

Article 27 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (the Statute) states that the perpetrator of a crime provided for by the Statute cannot successfully claim that he acted in his official capacity as a State agent or that he has an immunity barring prosecution before the ICC. Section 1 of Article 27 describes an objection based on the merits whereas Section 2 describes an objection based on procedural grounds. The Statute makes a clear distinction between the two objections and expressly bars both. According to Articles 1 and 17 of the Statute, the jurisdiction of the ICC is complementary to the jurisdiction of national courts. The ICC Statute rightly distinguishes and removes both the substantive objection available to the perpetrator of a crime proscribed by the Statute and committed in his/her official capacity and the procedural plea enjoyed by the alleged perpetrator as a State representative.

Keywords: Article 27; International Criminal Court; Rome Statute



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