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Author: Victor Tsilonis

The Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court

The book provides a succinct but holistic presentation of the most important issues related to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The main focus is placed on the three pillars which form the ICC’s foundations pursuant to the Rome Statute:

  • the preconditions to the exercise of its jurisdiction (Article 12 Rome Statute)
  • the substantive competence, i.e. the core crimes (Article 5-8bis Rome Statute, i.e. genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, crime of aggression)
  • the principle of complementarity (Article 17§1 (a) Rome Statute)

The latter governs the ICC’s ‘ultimate jurisdiction’, since it is not merely sufficient for a crime to be within the Court’s jurisdiction (according to the substantive, geographical, personal and temporal jurisdictional criteria), but the State Party must also be unwilling or unable genuinely to carry out the investigation or prosecution.

Finally yet importantly, the main ‘negative preconditions’ for the Court’s jurisdiction, i.e. immunities (Article 27 Rome Statute) and exceptions via Security Council referrals are thoroughly examined.The book is an excellent resource for scholars as well as practitioners and notably contributes to the existing literature.


“This is one of the first monographs amid the abundant literature on the International Criminal Court that attempts to examine the breadth and depth of the issues raised in relation to the preconditions for exercising the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (Article 12 ICCRSt) and the principle of complementarity, taking into account the ‘ubiquitous’ factor of international politics  as well as contemporary historical data and evidence that are often ignored or overlooked, such as the internal circulars of the ICC Prosecutor’s Office… The work of Victor Tsilonis, a very promising new scholar, fills a significant gap in the literature and opens up new pathways in the field of Public International Law.”

Nestor Courakis, Emeritus Professor at the University of Athens

Table of contents

  • The Definition of International Crime

pages 1-25

  • The Preconditions for the International Criminal Court to Exercise its Jurisdiction

pages 27-73

  • The Crime of Genocide and the International Criminal Court’s Jurisdiction

pages 75-102

  • Crimes Against Humanity Under the ICC’s Jurisdiction

pages 103-126

  • The ICC’s Jurisdiction Over War Crimes

pages 127-147

  • The Crime of Aggression: The Birth of a Crime

pages 149-166

  • Immunities Under Art. 27 ICCRSt and the ICC’s Jurisdiction

pages 167-186

  • The ICC’s Jurisdiction Following a Security Council’s Referral of a Situation Concerning Citizens of States Non-Parties to the ICC: the Situations in Sudan and Libya (Art. 25 UN Charter & 13(b) ICCRSt)

pages 187-206

  • The Awakening Hypothesis of the Complementarity Principle

pages 207-238