Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

UN Security Council referrals are a legally sufficient basis for International Criminal Court (ICC) action under the Rome Statute and the United Nations (UN) Charter. However, the fact that each permanent member of the Security Council can veto any such referral and that three of those states have declined to ratify the Statute poses a legitimacy problem for the Court. Specifically, it undermines the Court’s moral standing to judge and thus its capacity to deliver on its core function. Because of both the structure and function of the Court, the privileged position of the Council’s permanent members is more undermining of ICC legitimacy than it is of Council-authorized military action in response to atrocity, and even than it was of the ad hoc tribunals created by the Council. One way to remedy this situation would be to vest the ICC with universal jurisdiction. Alternatively, the Court’s legitimacy would be enhanced if Security Council referrals were removed from the Statute. Those, however, are unlikely amendments. More modestly, the Prosecutor should decline all Security Council referrals under the ‘interests of justice’ test.

Keywords: UN Security Council, International Criminal Court ICC, Rome Statute, Punishment, Expressivism, Legitimacy, Darfur, Libya, Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Humanitarian intervention

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.