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Jurisdiction and Complementarity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses several types of jurisdiction, before delving into jurisdictional challenges that evolved within the case law of International Criminal Tribunals (ICTS). Four different types of jurisdiction arise in determining whether an International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) may exercise jurisdiction, namely: ratione temporis or temporal jurisdiction; ratione personae or personal jurisdiction; ratione loci or territorial jurisdiction; and ratione materiae or subject-matter jurisdiction. Inaction on part of the State having jurisdiction, automatically renders a case admissible before the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC was confronted with an admissibility challenge for the first time in the case of Lubanga. At the same time the standard set by the ICC with regard to the unwillingness or inability of a State does not seem very burdensome. It is uncertain whether this will result in a fair trial for the accused and how this will impact upon international relations.

Keywords: International Criminal Court (ICC); International Criminal Tribunals (ICTS); personal jurisdiction; subject-matter jurisdiction; temporal jurisdiction; territorial jurisdiction



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