Sebastian Bates is a first-year law student at Keble College, Oxford University.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has been the subject of controversy since its inception, which stemmed from adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998 (the Court did not come into being until 2002, when the Statute was ratified by the requisite sixty states). Many of the world’s most prominent countries – including China, Russia, and the United States, all permanent members of the Security Council – have not accepted the Court’s jurisdiction. In fact, the United States Congress has passed legislation, signed into law by President George Bush in 2002, that would allow the president to use “all means necessary and appropriate” – up to and including military force – in order to free American or allied personnel from detention by the ICC.  This has often been referred to as the “Hague Invasion Act.” 
Others have criticized the Court for its slow prosecution of those accused of serious crimes under international law. Between 2002 and March 2014, the Court convicted only two defendants, both Congolese warlords.  Indeed, all of the twenty-one cases that have been brought before the ICC originated in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or elsewhere in Africa.  This has led to the most pernicious criticism of the Court: that it is a racist organization and is “nothing more than a tool to extend colonial domination.”