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1. Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of this book, which discusses two main questions: first, when has a state failed to conduct adequate criminal proceedings? And second, when, among all the instances of such failure, should the International Criminal Court (ICC), with its limited resources, interfere? The answer to both questions lies in the principle of complementarity which governs the ICC's exercise of jurisdiction. This sums up the two aspects of complementarity, which the book refers to as the tests of admissibility and prosecutorial discretion. The two tests described are the second and third of three tests that a case must pass before the ICC will actually handle it. The three tests are: the jurisdictional test, the admissibility test and the discretional test. The relationship between an international criminal jurisdiction and national jurisdictions may take on different forms.

Keywords: admissibility test; complementarity principle; complementary international criminal court (ICC); discretional test; international criminal jurisdiction; jurisdictional test; national jurisdictions

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