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…)

and the UN Security Council has the primary responsibility to enforce it.The Nuremberg Trials made it clear that criminal justice also has an important role to play for the promotion of peace and the deterrence of acts of aggression – though it remained limited and theoretical for many decades thereafter. With the 2010 Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the promotion of peace through criminal justice has gained new momentum. States Parties to the ICC decided to empower the Court to hold leaders accountable who are responsible for the most serious forms of the illegal use of force against other States at the 2010 Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda.
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.

News

26 MAR 2014

Slovak Parliament approves ratification of Kampala Amendments: On 26 March 2013 the National Council of Slovakia agreed to the ratification of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute. They must now be approved by the Slovak President before an instrument of ratification can be deposited. Prior to the near-unanimous approval by the plenary, the Amendments had been considered by the Foreign Affairs and the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committees. Slovakia is on track to become the 14th State Party to the Kampala Amendments on the crime of aggression, and would be the fourth State in Eastern Europe to ratify.

Photo © AP

06 MAR 2014

New Zealand Justice Minister opens Pacific regional workshop: Hon. Judith Collins, MP, Minister of Justice of New Zealand, opened the Pacific regional workshop on the universality of the Rome Statute and the crime of aggression. She noted that “given the history of the Pacific region, the illegal use of force contrary to the United Nations Charter has particular resonance.”

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations sent a message to the workshop’s opening, in which he said that he looked forward to receiving more instruments of ratification of the Kampala amendments from the region. In his speech, the President of the ICC, Hon Judge Sang-Hyun Song outlined why States from the region should join the Rome Statute.

During the workshop, taking place on 6 and 7 March, participants from Pacific Island States and States from the surrounding Asian region will address topics like the achievements and challenges of the Court’s first 12 years and the road from Rome to Kampala, amongst others. See our upcoming events page for more information.

Relevant documents:

05 MAR 2014

New Zealand Workshop begins with Press Conference: On the eve of the Workshop for the Universality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression in the Pacific Region, New Zealand press were given an opportunity to ask questions relating to the ICC and to the crime of aggression. Hon Judge Sang-Hyun Song (President, ICC), Christian Wenaweser (Liechtenstein’s Ambassador to the UN) and Dr. Penelope Ridings (Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade New Zealand) briefed the media on the workshop and the issues to be covered.

The Audio of Press Conference on ICC Workshop (32:27 minutes) is available to download.

Media from the Pacific region are invited to participate in a telephone press conference (7 March 2014 at 12.30 (NZDT)). Please see the press advisory for further details.

27 FEB 2014

Promoting universality of the Rome Statute and the Kampala Amendments in the Pacific Region: On 6 and 7 March, New Zealand, Liechtenstein and the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression will be hosting a workshop on the universality of the Rome Statute and the Kampala Amendments in the Pacific Region. At the present, only 8 of the 16 members of the Pacific Island Forum have ratified the Rome Statute. The aim of the workshop is the encourage ratification of the Rome Statute and the Kampala amendments and to inform States of the resources that States can draw upon to support them in their ratification processes. For more information, see upcoming events.

Media representatives are invited to a press conference on 5 March. They are further invited to direct any enquiries to Bettina Ambach (Bettina@bettinaambach.de).

Picture Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

29 JAN 2014

Austrian government approves Kampala Amendments: On 29 January, the Council of Ministers of Austria approved the ratification of the Kampala Amendments (see the agenda of the Council of Ministers Session, in German). These were subsequently forwarded to parliament for adoption (see the ratification documents before parliament, in German). There are currently 13 States Parties to the Kampala Amendments on the Crime of Aggression. To date, seven Member States of the European Union have ratified the amendments.

15 JAN 2014

Government of Slovakia approves Kampala Amendments: On 15 January 2014, the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute were approved by the government of Slovakia. The amendments will now be examined by parliament, subject to final ratification by the president. Currently, 13 States Parties have ratified the Kampala Amendments on to the crime of aggression as well as those on article 8 (war crimes). There has been strong interest in the crime of aggression amendments in Eastern Europe, with three States having ratified so far.

20 DEC 2013

Croatia ratifies crime of aggression amendments: On 20 December, Croatia deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala amendments with the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations. Like 12 other States before it, Croatia chose to ratify both sets of Kampala amendments – pertaining to war crimes and the crime of aggression – simultaneously. It had already implemented the amendments into its domestic law earlier this year. Croatia is the 10th State to ratify the amendments in 2013, the third Eastern European State to do so, and will be the 13th State Party to the crime of aggression amendments. The Kampala amendments for the crime of aggression will, once activated, allow the International Criminal Court to prosecute individuals for the most severe form of the illegal use of force. They are complementary to the prohibition on the use of force enshrined in the UN Charter.

Photo © Mission of Croatia to the UN /Zoran Joković

26 NOV 2013

Belgium ratifies crime of aggression amendments: On 26 November 2013, Belgium deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala amendments with the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations. Belgium will become the 12th State Party to the crime of aggression amendments. Belgium took a leading role in the Kampala Review conference, as the main sponsor of the amendments to article 8 of the Rome Statute, which area also known as the Belgian amendments. These further align provisions relating to weapons, the use of which constitute war crimes, between non-international and international armed conflict. Like 11 other States Parties before it, Belgium chose to ratify both sets of amendments at the same time. Upon activation of the aggression amendments in 2017, the ICC will be the first international court since the International Military Tribunals in Nuremberg and Tokyo to hold individuals responsible for the crime of aggression.

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