Does the International Criminal Court (ICC) have a "case" before it concerning serious crimes related to COVID-19? No, that's not true: Although a complaint was filed alleging crimes committed against people in the United Kingdom related to COVID, the ICC has not stated whether the complaint is now a "case."
The claim originated from a complaint found on a page (archived here) from Hannah Rose Law. The opening portion of the page stated that the complaint was filed with the prosecutor of the ICC and is careful to state that it was a "request." Still, the paragraph below the complaint's download link read:
Any and all updates with respect to this case will be shared here as well as to my Facebook page linked below so be sure to follow my social media
The page also contained a screenshot from the ICC of an "Acknowledgement from the Court," indicating that the court received the complaint. The acknowledgment noted that it "does not mean an investigation has been opened" related to the complaint.
This is how the page looked on December 27, 2021:
(Source: Hannah Rose Law screenshot taken on Mon Dec 27 15:45:31 2021 UTC)
The ICC is the first permanent international criminal court dedicated to investigating and potentially prosecuting individuals in positions of power who are allegedly involved in serious crimes against communities. There have only been 30 cases before the court since it began sittings nearly 20 years ago.
The complaint insists that leaders in the U.K. such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and chief medical adviser for the U.K. government Christopher Whitty, along with health and philanthropic leaders around the world such as the director for the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci and billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, have committed serious crimes against the people of the U.K. The alleged "crimes" are the preventative measures against COVID that have been recommended and enforced by the stated "perpetrators" throughout the pandemic. The background used in the complaint features debunked claims such as COVID being a "biological weapon," PCR tests being unreliable and masks being ineffective in preventing the spread of COVID.
The individual who identifies herself as Hannah Rose described her rationale behind filing the complaint in a video posted to Thrive Tribe Hub on December 8, 2021. Her goal, she said, is for other people to send the complaint to the ICC from their respective countries so that it gains the court's attention. She said that she purposely designed the complaint to be applicable to leaders around the world and allowed for the document to be edited to fit the needs of each person who wants to submit the complaint.
The ICC's Rome Statute establishes the four core crimes in which the ICC has jurisdiction: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. "Crimes against humanity" encompass one or more of the following "when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack":
- Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
- Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
- Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
- Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
- Enforced disappearance of persons;
- The crime of apartheid;
- Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
As this Lead Stories fact check from June 4, 2020, explains, it is unlikely that based on the purported "evidence" provided in the complaint, the "perpetrators" listed in the complaint committed any of these crimes. Lead Stories has also debunked other instances of the phrase being incorrectly used in reference to COVID measures here.
Both "war crimes" and "crimes of aggression" involve actions that are more commonly associated with offenses specifically committed during war. Since COVID has not been proven to be a "biological weapon" as the complaint claims, these accusations would not likely hold in court.
At the time of writing, the complaint was not noted for further investigation. On the "Situations Under Investigation" page from the ICC, none of the investigations are related to COVID.
Lead Stories reached out to the ICC about the complaint and will update this story with any relevant response.
More Lead Stories fact checks about the ICC can be found here.