Delineating the Interests of Justice: Prosecutorial Discretion and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court


Article 53(1) and 53(2) of the Rome Statute allow the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to decline to pursue an investigation or prosecution in the ‘interests of justice’. Some commentators have taken the view that the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC should not invoke this ground for declining to act in situations where there is a possibility that investigations or prosecutions might impede or interfere with local peace and reconciliation initiatives such as amnesties or truth commissions. According to at least one prominent non-governmental organisation, such decisions are properly the domain of the UN Security Council, rather than of the Office of the Prosecutor. This paper argues, however, that it is neither necessary nor desirable for the ICC prosecutor to defer to the Security Council in such circumstances. The interests of justice would best be served if discretion remains with the prosecutor.


Courts | Human Rights Law | International Law

Date of this Version

June 2006