According to the Rome Statute, the Prosecutor may initiate an investigation on the basis of a referral from a State Party or from the UN Security Council. The Prosecutor can also initiate investigation proprio motu, or on his or her own initiative, on the basis of communications received. The Prosecutor must receive the authorization of the Pre-Trial Chamber in order to initiate an investigation on his or her own initiative.
The Prosecutor, having evaluated the information made available to him or her, may initiate an investigation after considering whether the information provides a reasonable basis to believe that a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court has been committed and whether the case is admissible. A case is inadmissible if it is not of sufficient gravity or if it is being investigated or prosecuted by a State, unless the state is unable or unwilling to genuinely carry out the investigation. The jurisdiction of the Court is limited to the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole: crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
To date, 18 cases in eight situations have been brought before the International Criminal Court since the entry into force of the Rome Statute on July 1, 2002.
The Office of the Prosecutor is currently conducting preliminary examinations into the situations in Afghanistan, Georgia, Guinea, Colombia, Honduras, the Republic of Korea and Nigeria. For these countries, the Prosecutor has not yet determined whether the alleged crimes meet the requirements to open a formal investigation.
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