The International Criminal Court and the Doctrine of Complementarity

31 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2011

See all articles by Raluca David

Raluca David

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 14, 2011


The doctrine of complementarity as related to the International Criminal Court has been implicated in its fair share of controversy during its short lifetime. Most of the legal issues arising out of this doctrine are actually misunderstandings or misinterpretations of sections from the statute that created it: the Rome Statute. The correct definition of the doctrine of complementarity will be outlined, and then a detailed analysis of the relevant Articles which put in place the safeguards, checks and balances of the ICC will be completed. Finally, the ICC and the principle of complementarity will be considered in the context of the international State system, and their interaction with the issues of sovereignty and politicization in particular.

This essay will show that even with all the mistakes of statutory interpretation, the criticisms and the underlying political and sovereignty fears, the doctrine of complementarity remains not only a useful and workable principle but one of the cornerstones of the International Criminal Court, which can lead to worldwide acceptance of the Rome Statute, and thus to the advancement of international justice.

Keywords: international criminal law, international criminal court, complementarity, rome statute

Suggested Citation

David, Raluca, The International Criminal Court and the Doctrine of Complementarity (April 14, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Raluca David (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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