Gravity and Interests of Justice Considerations

  • Sonja C. Grover


It has been said that the concept of gravity “resides at the epicenter of the legal regime of the International Criminal Court.” Indeed, as deGuzman reminds us; the Rome Statute stipulates that the function of the ICC is to end impunity for “the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole.” Hence, gravity “is at the heart of …ICC determinations” [regarding] “which situations and cases merit international adjudication.” Notwithstanding the latter, however, it is to be emphasized that a pre-determination by an ICC Pre-Trial Chamber that a case is admissible (a gravity assessment being part of that determination) is not a prerequisite for issuance of an arrest warrant pursuant to Article 58(1) of the Rome Statute. An arrest warrant is to be issued based only on whether: (1) there are reasonable grounds to believe the person committed a crime within the jurisdiction of the ICC and (2) the arrest of the person appears necessary:


Rome Statute International Crime Armed Group Child Soldier Arrest Warrant 
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Literature, Materials and Situations/Cases


  1. Breuker L (2007) The nature of the genocide case. Hague Justice J 2:44–54Google Scholar
  2. DeGuzman MM (2009) Gravity and the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court. Fordham Int Law J 32(5):1400–1465Google Scholar
  3. Drumbl MA (2012) Reimagining child soldiers in international law and policy. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Grover S (2012) Child soldier victims of genocidal forcible transfer: exonerating child soldiers charged with grave conflict-related international crimes. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  5. Grover S (2011) The Supreme Court of Canada’s declining of its jurisdiction in not ordering the repatriation of a Canadian Guantanamo detainee: implications of the case for our understanding of international humanitarian law. Int J Hum Rights 15(3):481–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Grover S (2009) Canada’s refusal to repatriate a Canadian citizen from Guantanamo Bay as a violation of the humanitarian values underlying the principle of non-refoulement: a reanalysis of the reasoning in Omar Ahmed Khadr v The Prime Minister of Canada et al. High Court Q Rev 5(2):42–48Google Scholar
  7. Grover S (2008a) The child’s right to legal standing. LexisNexis, MarkhamGoogle Scholar
  8. Grover S (2008b) Child soldiers as non-combatants: the inapplicability of the Refugee Convention exclusion clause. Int J Hum Right 12(1):53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Oberg MD (2009) The absorption of grave breaches into war crimes law. Int Rev Red Cross 91(873). Accessed 10 Jun 2012
  10. Palmer S (1997) Case note: rape in marriage and the European Convention on Human Rights (SW v United Kingdom and CR v United Kingdom). Feminist Legal Stud 5(I):91–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar


  1. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1990) Entered into force 2 September 1990. Accessed 27 Oct 2011
  2. Genocide Convention (1951) (Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) Entry into force 1951. Accessed 3 Feb 2012
  3. ICC Office of the Prosecutor (2007) Policy paper on the interests of justice. Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  4. Office of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (2011) Working Paper No. 3: Children and justice during and in the aftermath of armed conflict. Accessed 7 Mar 2012
  5. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (2002) Entered into force 12 February, 2002. Accessed 26 Feb 2012
  6. Protocol Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of victims of international armed conflicts (Protocol I) (8 June, 1977) Accessed 18 Jan 2012
  7. Protocol Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions Relating to the Protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts (Protocol II) (8 June, 1977) Accessed 18 Jan 2012
  8. Rome Statute (2002) Entered into force 7 January, 2002. Accessed 17 Jan 2011
  9. UN Common Approach to Justice for Children (2008) Accessed 7 Mar 2012

Situations and Cases

  1. Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro (International Court of Justice) (Judgment of 26 February, 2007) Accessed 13 Mar 2012
  2. Prosecutor v. Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus (Summons to Appear 27 August, 2009) Accessed 12 Mar 2012
  3. Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, Second Warrant for Arrest for Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir (Pre-Trial Chamber I, 12 July, 2010) Accessed 14 May 2012
  4. Prosecutor v Bahar Idriss Abu Grada (Summons to Appear 7 May, 2009) Accessed 12 Mar 2012
  5. Prosecutor v Joseph Kony. Warrant for Arrest for Joseph Kony Issued on 8 July, 2005 as amended on 27 September, 2005 Accessed 1 Mar 2012
  6. Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Final Trial Judgement Pursuant to Article 74 of the Rome Statute (14 March, 2012) Accessed 20 Mar 2012
  7. Situation in Darfur, Sudan, Pre-Trial Chamber I Summary of the Prosecutor's Application under Article 58, 20 November, 2008 (ICC-02/05-162) Accessed 11 Mar 2012
  8. Situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ex Parte, Prosecutor Only, ICC Appeals Chamber, Judgment on the Prosecutor’s Appeal Against the Decision of Pre-Trial Chamber I entitled “Decision on the Prosecutor’s Application for Warrants of Arrest, Article 58”(13 July, 2006) Accessed 9 Mar 2012
  9. UN War Crimes Commission, Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals, Vol. 1 (1947) pp 46–54, 88–92, 93–103. Accessed 10 Mar 2012

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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