No Jurisdiction To Investigate Crimes In Egypt: ICC

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has said it has no jurisdiction to investigate crimes in Egypt. “As Egypt is not a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has no jurisdiction to open any investigation on the Egyptian soil without the Egyptian authorities’ consent,” an ICC spokeswoman told Ahram Online.

The Rome Statute, adopted in the Italian capital on 17 July 1998, established the ICC, which investigates human rights violations. One hundred and twenty-two countries have ratified the treaty.

Last month, the Muslim Brotherhood group filed a formal complaint with the ICC, asking for a full investigation into alleged crimes against humanity in Egypt.

The complaint claims there is “enough and compiling evidence” that crimes including “murder, unlawful imprisonment, torture, persecution against an indefinable group, enforced disappearance of persons” have taken place in Egypt.

The lawyers said although Egypt has not ratified the Rome Statute, the ICC is obliged to look into the complaint and open an investigation.

The Brotherhood complaint is based on Article 12 (paragraph 3) of the Rome Statute which allows the ICC to exercise jurisdiction over the situation in a non-member state whose government makes a declaration accepting the court’s jurisdiction in respect of crimes committed in its territory.

The Brotherhood legal team argues that the democratically-elected president Morsi, overthrown by the Egyptian military last July after mass protests against him, is still the legitimate president of Egypt and can make such a declaration.

However, there is no guarantee the ICC prosecutor will accept this argument.

The Brotherhood complaint was filed almost a month ago. Although the MB complaint has been filed almost a month ago, ICC did not respond to Ahram Online’ s question on its status. According to ICC procedures, the court’s prosecutor could open an initial investigation into the complaint to decide whether there is a strong and convincing basis to open a full investigation.

The United Nations Security Council may refer a situation in any state, which is not party to the Rome Statue, to the court if the state concerned does not, cannot or is unwilling genuinely to investigate alleged crimes.

Source : Ahram