JEAIL > Volume 4(2); 2011 > Student Contribution
Research Paper
Published online: November 30, 2011

Rome Statute and India: An Analysis of India's Attitude towards the International Criminal Court

Rishav Banerjee
Gujarat National Law University, India.
Student's Hostel, GNLU, Gandhinagar Sector-24, Gujarat, INDIA.
Corresponding Author:

ⓒ Copyright YIJUN Institute of International Law
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The International Criminal Court is the first permanent world judicial institution with nearly universal jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and possible aggression. Curiously, India voted against the Court's founding instrument, the Rome Statute. The Indian Government has chosen to adopt a 'non-position' on the most important step taken towards establishing genuine accountability for unthinkable atrocities, which reflects a deep seated confusion of thought rather than a principled stance. Even worse, the stated position of the Government has been to find common ground between Indian and American 'apprehensions' of "possible conflict between robust, national judicial processes and international tribunals as also the impact of such tribunals on national sovereignty." Against this background, this paper presents a critical review of the Indian position on the ICC, considering familiar accusations and criticisms directed against it. It also explores policy options available to the government in tackling core international crimes and finally underlines the need for reforms in the national criminal justice system. It is the thesis of this paper that India has seriously misjudged the legal, political and social repercussions of opposing the Rome Statute, and risks a further erosion of credibility if it altogether repudiates the Statute, and with it, its sizable practical advantages for protecting the dual interests of its nationals as individuals serving their country abroad, and of its national security. These points are not based on sentimental devotion to a vague and ill-defined internationalism, but on a pragmatic analysis of the interplay between the ICC and customary international law.

Keywords : ICC, Jurisdiction, State Sovereignty, Security Council, International Crimes.

View the Full Text