Rome Statute
Part 2: Jurisdiction, Admissibility and Applicable Law

Article Art. 18
Preliminary rulings regarding admissibility

Mentioned in

The United States Should Ratify the Rome Statute

Lieber Institute for Law & Warfare at West Point, July 17, 2023

“A quarter century ago today the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was completed following years of negotiations. I led the U.S. delegation in those talks.”
Bibliographic info


When a situation has been referred to the Court pursuant to article 13 (a) and the Prosecutor has determined that there would be a reasonable basis to commence an investigation, or the Prosecutor initiates an investigation pursuant to articles 13 (c) and 15, the Prosecutor shall notify all States Parties and those States which, taking into account the information available, would normally exercise jurisdiction over the crimes concerned. The Prosecutor may notify such States on a confidential basis and, where the Prosecutor believes it necessary to protect persons, prevent destruction of evidence or prevent the absconding of persons, may limit the scope of the information provided to States.


Within one month of receipt of that notification, a State may inform the Court that it is investigating or has investigated its nationals or others within its jurisdiction with respect to criminal acts which may constitute crimes referred to in article 5 and which relate to the information provided in the notification to States. At the request of that State, the Prosecutor shall defer to the State’s investigation of those persons unless the Pre-Trial Chamber, on the application of the Prosecutor, decides to authorize the investigation.


The Prosecutor’s deferral to a State’s investigation shall be open to review by the Prosecutor six months after the date of deferral or at any time when there has been a significant change of circumstances based on the State’s unwillingness or inability genuinely to carry out the investigation.


The State concerned or the Prosecutor may appeal to the Appeals Chamber against a ruling of the Pre-Trial Chamber, in accordance with article 82. The appeal may be heard on an expedited basis.


When the Prosecutor has deferred an investigation in accordance with paragraph 2, the Prosecutor may request that the State concerned periodically inform the Prosecutor of the progress of its investigations and any subsequent prosecutions. States Parties shall respond to such requests without undue delay.


Pending a ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber, or at any time when the Prosecutor has deferred an investigation under this, article the Prosecutor may, on an exceptional basis, seek authority from the Pre-Trial Chamber to pursue necessary investigative steps for the purpose of preserving evidence where there is a unique opportunity to obtain important evidence or there is a significant risk that such evidence may not be subsequently available.


A State which has challenged a ruling of the Pre-Trial Chamber under this article may challenge the admissibility of a case under article 19 on the grounds of additional significant facts or significant change of circumstances.

Source: Article 18 — Preliminary rulings regarding admissibility, https://www.­icc-cpi.­int/Publications/Rome-Statute.­pdf.

Last Updated

Aug. 30, 2023

Art. 18’s source at icc-cpi​.int