The International Criminal Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The statute defines each of these crimes. The court can exercise jurisdiction over individuals accused of these crimes if those individuals were directly responsible for committing the crimes or assisted in the commission of these crimes. Jurisdiction can also be exercised over military commanders or other superiors responsible for these crimes.
The Court may only exercise jurisdiction if the accused is a national of a state party or a state which accepts the jurisdiction of the court, if the crime took place on the territory of a state party, or if the United Nations Security Council referred the situation to the prosecutor irrespective of the nationality.
In addition, the Court can only prosecute crimes committed on or after July 1 2002. If a state becomes a party to the statute after this date, the court can exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed after the statute enters into force for that particular state. The court will investigate and prosecute only where national courts have failed.