The lack of a central international authority makes international organizations rely on the cooperation they can receive from States, the United Nations, and other regional and international organizations. In the case of the ICC, an international criminal judicial body, this principle becomes the cornerstone of its efficient and effective operation.

The ICC is not a supranational court; its jurisdiction is complementary to that of the States that have ratified its Statute. Furthermore, it has no police force and no prisons. Thus, implementing and making effective the obligation of States to cooperate with the Court’s activities is one of the most important challenges the ICC has to face in this initial period of its existence.

Law Enforcement
When the Court does act, it will rely at every step of its investigation and prosecution upon cooperation with national law enforcement authorities to help gather evidence and testimony, to investigate and document crime scenes, to arrest suspects, and to imprison those individuals who are convicted by the Court. The Court will also rely on national law enforcement bodies to respect without delay privileges and immunities of the Court and persons involved in its work.

For more information on this issue and the NGO Team on Cooperation Agreements and Enforcement, please contact Sunil Pal at

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