File - The International Criminal Court in the Hague, on June 6, 2006. (AFP PHOTO/ANP JUAN VRIJDAG)
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Despite the recent storms of criticism facing the International Criminal Court, particularly from the African Union, there are many good reasons for states to join the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC. Lebanon is not a member of the ICC, but it should seriously consider becoming one. If Lebanon does not join the ICC, action by the court regarding alleged crimes committed in the country would largely be dependent upon the United Nations Security Council, which may refer to the ICC prosecutor any situation for investigation and prosecution.By contrast, as a member state of the ICC, Lebanon may itself refer a situation where alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC appear to have been committed to the ICC prosecutor.When joining the ICC, Lebanon could still make an express declaration to extend the scope of the court's jurisdiction to past crimes.In a few years, the ICC will be able to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. In addition, prosecution of other crimes over which the ICC already has jurisdiction can meaningfully serve Lebanese and regional interests.
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