Chicago Journal of International Law


This Article addresses the consequent issue: What if a state, self-referring or referring the situation in another country, changes its mind and attempts to "withdraw" its ICC referral? What is the role and appropriate response of the ICC at that point? This issue becomes especially relevant and pressing as events in Uganda unfold and the possibility looms of an attempted "withdrawal" of Uganda's referral. This Article examines the Rome Statute, the drafting history, and the expert commentaries, together with the statutory and case law of the other major human rights courts and bodies, and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties ("Vienna Convention"), in an effort to provide a comprehensive analysis of whether a state party can lawfully withdraw a referral from the ICC. To set the stage, it first examines the self-referral phenomenon and explores the reasons why attempted withdrawal of self-referrals is likely to arise.