Parliamentary Committee Notes: International Criminal Court




The International Criminal Court (ICC) launched an investigation into the situation in Ukraine to investigate allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Canada is increasing its contributions to the ICC to support ongoing investigations, which may or may not include Ukraine.

Proposed Response:


The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an international tribunal that investigates and tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. The ICC is seated in The Hague, Netherlands.

The ICC Office of the Prosecutor (ICC-OTP) is an independent organ of the Court. It is responsible for selecting and examining situations under the jurisdiction of the Court where genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression appear to have been committed, and carrying out investigations and prosecutions against the individuals who are allegedly responsible for those crimes. Any individual, group, or State can send information to the ICC-OTP regarding alleged crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the Court.

The ICC has ongoing investigations in 17 countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur (Sudan), Central African Republic, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. There are currently     30 cases before the Court.

On March 2 2022, the ICC opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine, encompassing any past and present allegations of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed in Ukraine by any person from November 2013 onwards. As of April 2022, the situation in Ukraine has been referred to the ICC by 42 State Parties, including Canada (March 1, 2022).

Canada’s Contribution

Through the Canadian Police Arrangement (CPA), a partnership between Global Affairs Canada, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP, Canada currently has three investigators deployed to the ICC. In response to a request from the ICC-OTP for additional resources, given increasing pressures caused by ongoing ICC investigations, the CPA has increased its authorized number of Canadian police officers or civilian experts deployed to the ICC from three to up to ten.

Canada has already identified two skilled police investigators from the RCMP and four from other Canadian police agencies (including Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, Sûreté du Québec and Halton Regional Police) who will deploy to The Hague once preparations have been completed. (Note: one of these officers will replace another who is approaching the end of their deployment.) The investigators that have been identified thus far have varying experiences investigating war crimes, cyber crimes, domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, the CPA is in the process of recruiting and selecting civilian analysts to deploy and assist in these large-scale, complex investigations.

Canadian investigators will be assigned to teams working to end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community – including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ICC assigns investigators to specific investigative teams based on their identified needs. The investigative teams conduct operational visits to the field. The locations of these visits depend on the specific investigation.

Court Independence

The ICC fervently guards its judicial independence and, as such, contributions from Canada to the ICC are not earmarked to any specific investigations. That said, this increase will allow the CPA to support ongoing investigations and operations in the ICC-OTP, as well as provide flexibility to respond to urgent requests, including the one in relation to the situation in Ukraine, should the ICC choose to do so.


Prepared by: Shermeen Khan, Senior Policy Analyst, 343-550-6866

Approved by: Jill Wherrett, ADM, Portfolio Affairs and Communications Branch, 613-218-2970

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