What Investigative Resources Does the International Criminal Court Need to Succeed?: A Gravity-Based Approach


There is an ongoing debate about what resources the International Criminal Court (ICC) needs to be successful. On one side of this debate are many of the Court’s largest funders, including France, Germany, Britain, Italy, and Japan. They have repeatedly opposed efforts to increase the Court’s resources even as its workload has increased dramatically in recent years. On the other side of the debate is the Court itself and many of the Court’s supporters within civil society. They have taken the position that it is underfunded and does not have sufficient resources to succeed. This debate has persisted for years and disagreements over the ICC’s funding level are now a central feature of the Court’s budgeting process.

This Article assesses the ICC’s needs by looking at the investigative resources that states assign to domestic mass atrocity crimes and then comparing them to the investigative resources available to the ICC. One would expect that similar crimes would require similar resources to investigate. Thus, the resources devoted to domestic atrocity crime investigations can shed light on what resources the ICC needs to be successful. If the ICC has similar resources to those devoted to domestic mass atrocity investigations, this suggests that the ICC is adequately resourced. If, on the other hand, the ICC has fewer resources to conduct its investigations than domestic systems use in comparable circumstances, this suggests that the ICC is under-resourced.


ICC, court resources, factfinding, investigation, atrocity crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, crimes of aggression, funding, budget, gravity, Rome Statute, DRC, Darfur, Côte D’Ivoire, Kenya, Mali, Libya, Central African Republic, Uganda



Stuart Ford (John Marshall Law School)



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