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ICC’s jurisdiction over Egypt

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A communication seeking to accept the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”)  over Egypt has been dismissed as not presented on behalf of the concerned State. On 13 December 2013, lawyers acting on behalf of, amongst others, the Freedom and Justice Party (the “Petitioners”) lodged a communication with the ICC Registrar seeking to accept the exercise of the ICC’s jurisdiction pursuant to article 12(3) of the Rome Statute with respect to alleged crimes committed on the territory of the State of Egypt since 1 June 2013.

Upon receiving the communication, as per the established internal procedures, the Registry verified with the Egyptian authorities whether or not such a communication was transmitted on behalf of the State of Egypt, as a result of which, the Registrar did not receive a positive confirmation.

The Registrar further transmitted the communication in reference to the ICC Prosecutor and consulted with her on this matter. After a careful assessment, the Registrar informed the Petitioners that the communication received cannot be treated as a declaration accepting the exercise of the ICC’s jurisdiction pursuant to article 12(3) of the Rome Statute given that they lacked the requisite authority under international law to act on behalf of the State of Egypt for the purpose of the Rome Statute. This assessment should in no way be construed as a determination on the nature of any alleged crime committed in Egypt or on the merits of any evidence presented.

In accordance with the Rome Statute, the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction extends to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed on the territory of a State Party, or by a national of a State Party.  The State of Egypt is not a State Party to the Rome Statute.  The Court’s jurisdiction with respect to non-States Parties can be triggered if the relevant State voluntarily accepts the jurisdiction of the ICC by lodging a declaration pursuant to article 12(3) of the Rome Statute, or if the United Nations Security Council refers a situation to the ICC Prosecutor. To date, none of these preconditions have been met with respect to the State of Egypt, and therefore, the Court has no jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in the territory of Egypt.

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