Our purpose: Promoting peace through criminal justice – preventing crimes of aggression
Through the United Nations Charter, virtually all States in the world have expressed their commitment “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. They have agreed to renounce the illegal threat or use of force, and to settle their disputes “by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered”. States have the legal duty to abide by this commitment (more…)
They adopted a definition of the crime of aggression, which is also expected to be incorporated into many domestic criminal codes. They thus created a new mechanism to enforce the most important rule of international law: the prohibition of the illegal use of force under the United Nations Charter. 30 ratifications, as well as a further decision by States Parties in 2017, are required for the ICC take up this new function. This website is dedicated to making this new accountability mechanism a reality.
Forum of Small States Briefed about Aggression Amendments: In their presentation to the 110-member strong Forum of Small States (FOSS), Christian Wenaweser and Donald M. Ferencz underscored the special relevance of the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression for small States, which are more likely to be the victims of acts of aggression. All 5 States that have ratified the Kampala amendments on the Crime of Aggression to date are members of FOSS, a fact that does not surprise Ambassador Wenaweser, who recalled that it was small States who led the charge for ratifications of the Rome Statute.
Crime of Aggression amendments enter into force: On 8 May 2013, the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression entered into force for the first State, Liechtenstein.
As they were adopted under article 121(5) of the Statute, the Crime of Aggression amendments enter into force for each ratifying State one year after the deposit of the instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Liechtenstein deposited its instrument of ratification on 8 May 2012, the 67th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
Those interested in the legal fine print should make sure to distinguish entry into force and activation: The amendments have now entered into force for the first State Party. Next, the amendments need to be activated through the procedure contained in the amendments (which require 30 ratifications and a one-time activation decision by States Parties no earlier than 1 January 2017). It is thus not correct to state that the amendments will only enter into force in 2017! They have just entered into force, as can be seen on the SG’s depositary notification. But the Court can only exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once this jurisdiction is activated as described above.
For more details, have a look at our Handbook.
Photo: Liechtenstein’s Ambassador Christian Wenaweser presents a copy of the Travaux Preparatoires of the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression to Patricia O’Brien, Legal Counsel of the United Nations. © United Nations / Win Khine
UN Secretary-General promotes ratification of Kampala Amendments: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a strong message of support to the Gaborone workshop on ratification and implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC: “The achievement of Kampala has set the stage for a paradigm shift in international law and international relations”. He hoped that more States parties would ratify the amendment to facilitate their timely activation. He traced the history of the amendments through General Assembly Resolution 3314 to article 2(4) of the Charter, which prohibits the threat or use of force in international relations.
According to the Secretary-General, the United Nations supports efforts to promote ratification of the Kampala Amendments as well as their implementation, which would institutionalize the achievements of the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals.
Here is the full text of the message, which was delivered by Zachary Muburi-Muita, Head of the UN Office to the African Union.
Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefs press while participating in the Kampala Review Conference of the International Criminal Court in 2010. © UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Botswana set to become 6th State Party to Aggression amendments: At the opening of a workshop on the Crime of Aggression in Gaborone, Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana, signed the instrument of ratification for the Kampala Amendments. President Khama said “this is a symbol of our commitment to the implementation of the Rome Statute, and I hope that it will encourage other countries to do the same.” It is expected that it will be deposited with the Secretary-General United Nations in New York next week, making Botswana the 6th State Party to the amendments on the Crime of Aggression.
Workshop for African States Parties in Botswana – 15 & 16 April 2013
On the invitation of Botswana, Liechtenstein and the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression, Representatives from 26 African States Parties met in Gaborone, Botswana to discuss the ratification and implementation of the Kampala Amendments. The results of the workshop have been captured in a joint communiqué.
Statements were made by several high-level attendees including
- Ian Khama, President of Botswana
- Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, message delivered by Zachary Muburi-Muita, head of the UN Office to the African Union
- Aurelia Frick, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein
- Dikgakgamatso Ndelu Seretse, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security of Botswana
- Andries Nel, Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa
- Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the UN
Prince Zeid and Donald Ferencz speak on Aggression at Brandeis University: On 30 January 2013, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, and Donald M. Ferencz, Convenor of the Global Institute on the Prevention of Aggression, spoke at Brandeis University on the Crime of Aggression. The video of their talk has been posted on Youtube and is available below:
More information is available on the website of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University.
Estonia ratifies crime of aggression amendments: On 27 March 2013, Estonia deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala amendments with the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations. It becomes the fifth State Party to the Rome Statute, and the first Eastern European State, to do so. 25 additional ratifications are required for activation of the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
A press release is available on the website of the Estonian Foreign Ministry.
Photo: © Win Khine/United Nations
Luxembourg fourth country to ratify aggression amendments: On 15 January 2012, Jean Asselborn, Deputy Prime Minister & Minster of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, deposited the instruments of ratification with the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations. Luxembourg is the fourth country to have ratified the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression and on war crimes (article 8), following Liechtenstein, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago. It is however the first ICC State Party that has both ratified the amendments and implemented them into domestic legislation. Luxembourg’s criminal code and its code of criminal procedure were already revised in February 2012. Now, after four ratifications, 26 additional ratifications are needed before the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court over the crime of aggression can be activated.
Please see the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ press release (in English and French) for more information.