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The Ugandan Government Triggers the First Test of the Complementarity Principle: An Assessment of the First State's Party Referral to the ICC

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The Ugandan referral of its situation to the ICC raises some interesting legal issues that merit examination. As demonstrated in the current study, the acts committed during the current con flict in Uganda meet the requirements of the ICC jurisdiction ratione materiae, however, the problem remains that most of the acts were committed or were initiated before the Statute's entry into force. As the Court has a speci fied temporal jurisdiction, it is clear that the Court would lack jurisdiction over those acts committed before July 1, 2002. However, the question that remains is whether acts that commenced before the July 1, 2002 and continue after that date would be considered by the Court.

Given the fact that Uganda is both the territorial state and the state of nationality (as deduced from section 1.1) – an unanticipated situation, some legal arguments come into play. The main issue that arises is that the self-referral implies a sort of waiver of the State to exercise complementarity. Would this be legally acceptable? And what are the consequences if the Court accepted this waiver? To what extent does such acceptance affect other admissibility provisions including the application of Article 17?


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