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What are the ICC Legal Tools?

The Legal Tools are the leading information services on international criminal law. They equip users with legal information, digests and an application to work more effectively with core international crimes cases (involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide or aggression). By being freely available in the public commons, the Tools equalize access to international criminal law information, thus empowering practitioners and levelling preconditions for criminal justice in both richer and materially less resourceful countries. The Legal Tools are a significant contribution to national capacity development in criminal justice for core international crimes.

The publicly available Tools comprise the online "Legal Tools Database", together with legal research and reference tools developed by lawyers with expertise in international criminal law and justice: the Case Matrix, the Elements Digest, and the Means of Proof Digest. Text in these tools or in the Legal Tools Database does not necessarily represent views of the ICC, any of its Organs or any participant in proceedings before the ICC or any of the ICC States Parties. The Legal Tools Database contains several collections:

  • ICC Documents: basic legal documents and the public decisions;
  • ICC 'Preparatory Works' and Statute Amendments: more than 9,000 documents related to the negotiation of the ICC Statute, Rules of Procedure and Evidence, and Elements of Crime document, as well as documents related to amendments to the ICC Statute;
  • International Legal Instruments: a collection of key treaties;
  • Other International Law Decisions and Documents: documents of the International Court of Justice, International Law Commission, UN General Assembly and UN Security Council;
  • Human Rights Law Decisions and Documents: decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and documents of the UN human rights system;
  • International(ised) Criminal Jurisdictions (Basic Documents): basic legal documents of all the international(ised) criminal jurisdictions;
  • International(ised) Criminal Decisions: public decisions of the international(ised) criminal jurisdictions;
  • National Jurisdictions: basic documents on the legal system and status of core international crimes;
  • National Implementing Legislation: national implementing legislation, including access to the specialized National Implementing Legislation Database;
  • National Cases Involving Core International Crimes: the largest collection of such case documents;
  • Publications: publications relevant to work on international criminal law;
  • United Nations War Crimes Commission: the public part of the archive of the UN War Crimes Commission, included case-related documents;
  • International(ised) Fact-Finding Mandates: documents on international(ised) fact-finding mandates.

The Case Matrix is a law-driven case management and legal information application representing significant innovation in how to approach criminal cases. The in-depth evidence analysis charts used at the ICC are based on the logic and idea of the ICC Case Matrix. The Matrix can be used for work on cases as well as for training and other capacity building and knowledge-transfer purposes. The Elements Digest and Means of Proof Digest functionalities of the Case Matrix give access to case law broken down according to the elements of crime and their proof structures. Ralph Hecksteden and Morten Bergsmo were awarded the 2008 Dieter Meurer Prize for Legal Informatics for making the Case Matrix. Online access is provided to different versions of the Case Matrix at, where you find more information. The Co-ordinator of the Legal Tools Project uses the web site of the Case Matrix Network (CMN) – a department of the Centre of International Law Research and Policy – to administer some aspects of the Legal Tools Project, without cost to the ICC.

You find films about the Legal Tools and basic guidance on their use here. The following brochures on the Legal Tools and the Case Matrix are available for download: