The creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Rome in 1998 was widely seen as a major and overdue victory for international justice. The ICC did not take away from states their primary responsibility for criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes. Rather, it filled the gap when states were unable or unwilling to play that role. Ten years after beginning operations, the ICC has progressed significantly. The Statute has been widely ratified, it has conducted proceedings in various cases, and it is contributing to a global infrastructure of international criminal justice. However, the ICC also faces challenges: its selection of situations and cases has been criticized, and it is seen as being too slow and expensive in relation to results achieved. This presentation will explore the circumstances of the ICC’s creation its achievements and challenges.
Philippe Kirsch, OC, QC, is a Canadian lawyer and diplomat who served as a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) from 2003-2009 and was the Court’s first president. Previously he served as Chairman of the Committee of the Whole of the Rome conference that created the Court and of the subsequent Preparatory Commission. He also held various positions with the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, including Legal Adviser to the Department, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Ambassador to Sweden. After leaving the ICC he was Judge ad hoc at the International Court of Justice, Chair of the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry for Libya and a member of other such missions in Bahrain and Myanmar. He is currently Chair of the Assembly of States Parties’ Advisory Committee on Nominations of ICC judges. He holds a BA and LLM of Université de Montréal, and has received many honorary doctorates for his work in international law.