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The Rome statute was drafted and signed during a diplomatic conference on 17 July, 1998 by 139 signatories in Rome, Italy. It became effective in July 2002. The Rome statute covers four international crimes; genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. It is important to note that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction on cases committed on or after 1 July, 2002. By December 2011, 119 states had ratified the Rome statute from all the continents in the world (Schabas, 10). The International Criminal Court prosecutes cases that the countries where the crimes have taken place cannot or are unwilling to prosecute themselves. An example is in the case of Uganda. Other cases can be brought before the ICC by the United Nations Security Council like those of Darfur and Libya (Schabas, 11). The prosecutor of the court can also initiate cases like in the case of Kenya.
The International Criminal Court has so far dealt with seven situations and publicly indicted 27 people. There are ongoing proceedings against 24 other people in the court at the moment (Paris, 4). The majority of the cases before the court touch on crimes committed against humanity and war crimes. 120 countries voted for the adoption of the Rome Statute, 21 countries abstained while 7 countries voted against the treaty (Schiff, 18). It is not clear why these countries are against the adoption of the Rome Statute. China and India have been critical of the court. The United States has refused to sign the treaty. The representatives of these countries had made an attempt to harmonize laws of war and control the use of advanced weaponry. Probably the United States is concerned the court might limit seek to control the number of technological weapons countries have. As the worlds super power, the Unite States would not want to be tied to a control of such weapons. It is a very critical matter and a closer look at the countries that have refused to be part of the treaty clearly shows they are the ones with these kinds of weapons.