The European Union and the International Criminal Court - Analyzing an international relationship
Abstract: EUs institutional and historical particularities create challenges for the organization when promoting international criminal law in general and ICC in particular. This has however not hindered EU from emerging as a staunch supporter of the ICC. To this end, the Presidency, the Council and the Commission have acted with one voice to promote ICC.EUs position towards ICC is formalized through the adoption of a Common Position and an Action Plan. The main focus of these instruments is external action to promote universal jurisdiction and implementation of the Rome Statute among third states as well as the integrity of the ICC. The Action Plan however contains measures to co ordinate internal EU activities. To this end, an EU Focal Point and National Focal points are created to gather and share information on crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC, paired with requirements of closer cooperation between member states judicial- and immigration authorities. The limited focus on internal efforts is due to EUs limited competence to force its Member States to fulfill obligations under international treaties or to harmonize national criminal provisions. Several progressive steps could be taken to promote international criminal law within EU if the Member States gave EU that competence. With regard to external efforts, the EU has taken a wide variety of actions to implement the Common Position and Action Plan, using both first and third pillar- measures. One of the EUs most efficient means to promote compliance with international law has been to use it as an admission criterion when negotiating EU membership. The EU has also concluded an Agreement directly with the ICC, to manifest its support to the ICC. The substantive articles of the ICC-EU Agreement are uncontroversial, however the respectful tone towards the EU can be questioned both from a legal and political point of view. All together, the EU has taken the commitment to promote the ICC and the Rome Statute in its external actions impressively serious. Despite this, inconsistencies can be noted in EUs external behavior, implicating that the idealistic support to ICC sometimes has to make room for the political reality. Suggestions on how to limit these arbitrary aspects of the EU's commitments towards the ICC are presented in the last chapter.
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