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The ICC > United Nations & ICC

ICC-UN Relationship

While the International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent international organization, it was established at a United Nations (UN) conference and the two organizations share common goals of preventing and responding to mass atrocities. The Rome Statute also includes two provisions which tell the judges how to deal with two possible types of action by the UN Security Council: the referral of situations to the ICC Prosecutor - as it did with Darfur and Libya - and deferral, a resolution ordering the Court not to act on an investigation or prosecution for a renewable period of 12 months.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressing a meeting of the ICC's Assembly of States Parties. Eric Kanalstein/UN.

The strength of the ICC-UN relationship has been challenged at times, especially by the United States during the Bush administration. At its behest, the deferral provision of the Rome Statute was invoked several times by the Security Council in peacekeeping resolutions in order to shield Americans from the ICC. Also during this administration, US officials sought to weaken the standing of the ICC at the UN by insisting that references to the Court be removed from UN reports and resolutions.

The formal basis for their relations is a Negotiated Relationship Agreement between the ICC and the UN, concluded on October 4, 2004. This agreement establishes a framework for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two entities, including collaboration in the field. In addition, the ICC is invited to report annually to the UN General Assembly.