Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 April 2006
The UN Security Council has recently referred the situation in Darfur, Sudan, to the International Criminal Court. This has been hailed as a breakthrough in international criminal justice. However, aspects of the referral resolution can be criticized from the point of view of their consistency with both the Rome Statute and the UN Charter. The limitations of the referral with respect to whom the Court may investigate also raise issues with respect to the rule of law. In addition, Sudan has accused the Security Council of acting in a neo-colonial fashion by referring the situation in Darfur to the Court. This article investigates these criticisms against the background of the international system in which international criminal law operates, and concludes that although the referral cannot be considered neo-colonial in nature, the referral can be criticized as selective and as an incomplete reaction to the crisis in Darfur. The referral remains, however, a positive step.