China's Attitude Towards the ICC
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
Date Written: July 2005
Unlike the USA, China has few overseas military commitments, and therefore is not concerned that its troops may one day come under International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction. Moreover, China is not in a position to pressurize other countries to sign bilateral agreements as the USA has done. Whether or not China eventually accedes to the Rome Statute, it cannot avoid the jurisdiction of the ICC in other parts of the world. There are five main reasons for China`s opposition to the ICC. First, its jurisdiction is not based on the principle of voluntary acceptance; furthermore, complementarity gives the ICC the power to judge whether a state is able or willing to conduct proper trials of its own nationals. Secondly, also war crimes in internal armed conflicts fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Thirdly, crimes against humanity are prohibited in time of peace as well. Fourthly, the inclusion of the crime of aggression within the jurisdiction of the ICC weakens the power of the UN Security Council. Fifthly, the proprio motu power of the Prosecutor may make the ICC open to political influence. The authors try to show how all these objections can be legally met and set forth a series of considerations that would make China`s participation in the Court a welcome development in China`s national and international interests. They finally argue that the Chinese government should take an open attitude, taking into consideration the Court`s actual performance, and should not, therefore, exclude the possibility of acceding at an appropriate time to the ICC Statute.
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