ICC agreement on crime of agression

On June 12, 2010, the member states of the International Criminal Court (ICC), observer states, international organizations, NGO’s and other participants concluded the Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala, Uganda.

 During the two-week conference, 4000 delegates reviewed ICC work in the last eight years and discussed proposed amendments to its founding treaty.

The main challenge of the meeting was the amendment on the crime of aggression which was not defined through all these years. The delegates finally came up with a resolution which defines the crime of aggression but fails to give the Court primary jurisdiction over the crime.

Instead, the UN Security Council is still given the main role in determining the existence of an act of aggression. this means, unless Security Council makes such a determination, the Prosecutor of the ICC may not start investigations in respect of a crime of aggression. In the absence of such Security Council action, the Prosecutor may start proceedings on his own initiative or upon request from a member state. However, in order to do so, the Prosecutor would have to obtain prior authorization from the Pre-Trial Division of the Court.

Furthermore, the Court would not be able to exercise jurisdiction with respect to an act of aggression committed by a non-member state or with regard to member states that have not accepted the Court’s jurisdiction over this crime.

Finally, the amendment shall not enter into force until the majority of member states grants formal approval after January 2017.

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