'Reasonable Grounds to Believe': An Unreasonably Unclear Evidentiary Threshold in the ICC Statute
Journal of International Criminal Justice (2015) 13(3) 555-577
38 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2015 Last revised: 20 Nov 2015
Date Written: June 16, 2015
Under Article 58(1) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), should the prosecutor present information that meets, inter alia, the evidentiary threshold of ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ that the person has committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the ICC, as well as the other conditions set out in Article 58, the Pre-Trial Chamber issues a warrant of arrest. Following a critical assessment of the interpretations given by the ICC of this threshold test of ‘reasonable grounds to believe’, this article shows that elucidations at the ICC are a potential source of confusion rather than guidance on what is required to satisfy this criterion. The lack of clarity has lowered the standard, with detrimental effects on actual judicial oversight of the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the defendant’s right to liberty.
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