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Case No. ICC-RoC46(3)-01/18

  • Michail Vagias (a1)

On September 6, 2018, Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC or Court) ruled by a majority—Judge Perrin de Brichambaut dissenting—that it has jurisdiction to hear cases concerning crimes that occurred only in part within the territory of a state party to the Rome Statute. In so ruling, the Court granted the ICC prosecutor's request to rule on jurisdiction and confirmed its territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from the territory of Myanmar (a state not party to the Rome Statute) to Bangladesh (a state party). The Court also affirmed unequivocally its objective international legal personality vis-à-vis non-party states and hinted strongly that the prosecutor should consider the possible prosecution of at least two additional crimes in connection with this situation.

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1 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, July 17, 1998, 2187 UNTS 3 [hereinafter Statute].

2 ICC-RoC46(3)-01/18, Decision on the “Prosecutor's Request for a Ruling on Jurisdiction Under Article 19(3) of the Statute” (Sept. 6, 2018), available at Decisions and documents of the Court cited herein are available online at its website,

3 UN Human Rights Council, Report of the Detailed Findings of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, UN Doc. A/HRC/39/64 (Sept. 12, 2018) [hereinafter Report].

4 Report, supra note 3, paras. 94–103.

5 Opening Statement of the Thirty-Sixth Session of the Human Rights Council by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein (Sept. 11, 2017), at (“a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”); Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar, para. 65, UN Doc. A/HRC/37/70 (Mar. 9, 2018) (explaining that the situation bears “the hallmarks of genocide”).

6 ICC-RoC46(3)-01/18-1, Application Under Regulation 46(3), Prosecution's Request for a Ruling on Jurisdiction Under Article 19(3) of the Statute (Apr. 9, 2018) available at

7 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, May 23, 1969, 1155 UNTS 331 [hereinafter VCLT].

8 Reparation for Injuries Suffered in the Service of the United Nations, Advisory Opinion, 1949 ICJ Rep. 174 (Apr. 11).

9 ICC-RoC46(3)-01/18-37-Anx, Decision, Partially Dissenting Opinion of Judge Marc Perrin de Brichambaut (Sept. 6, 2018), available at

10 Situation on Registered Vessels of the Union of the Comoros, the Hellenic Republic and the Kingdom of Cambodia, ICC-01/13-51, Decision on the Admissibility of the Prosecutor's Appeal Against the “Decision on the Request of the Union of the Comoros to Review the Prosecutor's Decision Not to Initiate an Investigation,” paras. 56, 58 (Nov. 6, 2015), available at Statement of the ICC Prosecutor, Mrs. Fatou Bensouda, on the Situation on Registered Vessels of the Union of the Comoros et al. (Nov. 30, 2017), at

11 Situation in Kenya, ICC-01/09-19-Corr, Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorization of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Kenya, para. 18 (Mar. 31, 2010).

12 For a summary, Michail Vagias, The Territorial Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court 91–100 (2014).

13 Article 30 of the Rome Statute is entitled “Mental Element” and provides in paragraph 2 that “[f]or the purposes of this article, a person has intent where:

  1. (a)

    (a) In relation to conduct, that person means to engage in the conduct;

  2. (b)

    (b) In relation to a consequence, that person means to cause that consequence or is aware that it will occur in the ordinary course of events.”

14 Statement of the ICC Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, on Opening a Preliminary Examination Concerning the Alleged Deportation of the Rohingya People from Myanmar to Bangladesh (Sept. 18, 2018), at

15 UN Human Rights Council, Situation of Human Rights of Rohingya Muslims and Other Minorities in Myanmar, para. 24, UN Doc. A/HRC/39/L.22 (Sept. 25, 2018).

16 Matthew Lee, Bolton: International Criminal Court “Already Dead to Us, Assoc. Press (Sept. 11, 2018), at

17 Prosecutor v. Al-Bashir, ICC-02/05-01/09-319, Decision on Jordan's Request for Leave to Appeal (Feb. 21, 2018), available at

18 Cedric Ryngaert, Jurisdiction in International Law 75–76 (2015).

19 Situation in the Republic of Burundi, ICC-01/17-9-Red, Public Redacted Version of “Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorization of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Burundi,” paras. 22–23 (Oct. 25, 2017), at

20 ICC Statement on The Philippines’ Notice of Withdrawal: State Participation in Rome Statute System Essential to International Rule of Law (Mar. 20, 2018), at (the Philippines withdrawal takes effect on March 17, 2019).

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