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Self-referral of Situations to the International Criminal Court: Complementarity in Practice – Complementarity in Crisis

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Self-referral practice has been the main source of cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to date. This practice provokes significant questions as to its roots, legality and implications on the jurisdiction of the Court in general and the principle of complementarity in particular. Thus, the article, after considering the legal, factual and political considerations attached to self-referral, argues that self-referral, as utilized and encouraged by the ICC since its inception, signals a departure of the purposive rationale of the principle of complementarity as the drafting history and the current wording of the Statute reveals, and this could have a detrimental effect on the credibility and impartiality of the Court.

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor of Law, Qatar University, College of Law Doha, Qatar


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