(ICC) which was set up by the United Nations under the Rome Statute began functioning in 2002 and issued its first arrest warrants in 2005. From the beginning it has been surrounded by controversy – the United States voted against the creation of the Court and has since said that it does not recognise its jurisdiction. The focus of its work on Africa has led to charges that the Court is a means of promoting western imperialism and the decision of Palestine to apply for membership of the ICC has led to a furious response from Israel. In addition the Court has been seen as totally ineffective because of the small number of cases that have come to trial.
Kirsten Ainley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and the Director of the Centre for International Studies. She has a particular interest in the development and politics of international criminal law and notions of individual and collective responsibility. She will look at the background to the setting up of the ICC, its record so far and how its role can be developed in the future.