A preliminary examination is the process by which the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) decides whether or not to open an investigation into a situation. At this stage, the OTP examines jurisdiction, admissibility (complementarity and gravity), and the interests of justice. Under the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Prosecutor shall initiate an investigation unless he or she determines that there is no reasonable basis to proceed.
After more than six years, the International Criminal Court closed its preliminary examination of war crimes by UK forces in Iraq. The decision from December 2020 reveals systematic failures of international justice and proves, once again, that powerful actors can get away with torture.