Our purpose: Promoting peace through criminal justice – preventing crimes of aggression
Through the United Nations Charter, States 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 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, States Parties 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. This website is dedicated to making accountability a reality.
Conference “Addressing cyber-related crimes under the Rome Statute system”: Professor Jennifer Trahan, Convenor of The Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression, was honored to present the findings of the Council of Advisers’ Report on the Application of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to Cyberwarfare” at the International Criminal Court on January 22, 2024. The conference where she spoke was entitled “Addressing cyber-related crimes under the Rome Statute system” and co-sponsored by the International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor and Microsoft (See ICC OTP Press release).
The meetings of the Council of Advisers that led into the drafting of the report occurred in 2019-2020, while Don Ferencz was Convenor of GIPA. The meetings on which the report is based were hosted by the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the UN, and co-organized by 10 other UN missions. The full report, drafted under the supervision of Liechtenstein legal adviser Sina Alavi, can be found here.
The report makes the case that each of the Rome Statute’s four crimes can be committed partly or fully through cyber, a position now endorsed by the ICC Prosecutor. The report is anticipated to play a role in the formation of the ICC’s future policy paper on the Rome Statute and cyber.
Ukraine’s statement at the Sixth Committee: At the UN General Assembly in October 2023, Ukraine called on the International Law Commission to confirm the inapplicability of functional immunity in proceedings for crimes under international law, without exception and hence encompassing the crime of aggression in order to avoid a serious inconsistency in the treatment of crimes under international law and in order to confirm the principle of accountability for all crimes under international law.
For the full statement, see here.
Conference “Towards accountability for the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine”: organized by Prof. Pavel Šturma and Dr. Milan Lipovský, gathered scholars, practitioners, state representatives and civil society members to discuss the various proposed forms of mechanism to assess individual criminal responsibility for the crime of aggression committed against Ukraine.
The conference took place on 10-11 November 2023 within the premises of the Faculty of Law of the Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic) under the auspices of the Human Rights Research Centre – UNCE and provided grounds among others to debate the interrelated aspects connected to the creation of the mechanism, including the issue of immunities from criminal jurisdiction, competences of intergovernmental organizations and procedural matters.
Liechtenstein’s statement at the Sixth Committee: The GIPA welcomes the clear language of Liechtenstein when commenting on the work of the International Law Commission at the UN General Assembly on 23 October 2023. Liechtenstein does not understand why draft article 7 of the ILC’s work on “Immunity of State officials from foreign criminal jurisdiction” leaves out the crime of aggression. In Liechtenstein’s position, “the crime of aggression should have been included” in the list of crimes in respect of which functional immunity does not apply, “especially given it is a leadership crime which requires us to overcome immunities to ensure meaningful accountability and its future prevention.”
For the full statement, see here.
Conference on Amendments: In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Rome Statute, the Vienna Conference on Amendments (6 – 7 October 2023), organized by Dr. Astrid Reisinger Coracini, gathered international scholars, State representatives, and civil society to discuss the harmonization of the ICC’s jurisdiction over all the crimes within its jurisdiction.
Professor Dr. Claus Kreß in his keynote address, as well as other speakers, emphasized the new momentum for the international community to close the existing gaps in the prosecution of the crime of aggression.
This conference, held at the University of Vienna, organized in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, laid the academic groundwork for the discussions that will be needed approaching the mandatory review of the aggression amendments in 2025.
GIPA Proposal to Amend Article 15bis of the Rome Statute: The Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression believes it is critical to strengthen the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. Reasons for the proposed amendment are summarized here.
GIPA has also published a proposal for the amendment of the conditions under which the ICC can exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. The proposal has been thoroughly discussed among experts on the crime of aggression and has the objective of bringing the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression into line with the Court’s jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The proposal contains model amendments, as well as a resolution ready to be adopted by the Assembly of States Parties, and an explanation of the proposed amendments.
Conference Room Paper of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine: On 29 August 2023, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine published a report in which it made recommendations on proposed accountability measures and expressed its support for the creation of a tribunal for the crime of aggression as well as efforts to amend the Rome Statute to allow for broader jurisdiction of the crime of aggression (para. 946).
It identified the need for establishing a special tribunal since “there is currently no international court with jurisdiction to undertake this necessary accountability measure” and taking into account evidence relating to acts of aggression in ICC proceedings as context of other ICC Statute crimes or as an aggravating circumstance would “not fully reflect the gravity of the crime of aggression as such, which is a separate crime, different from the three other crimes” (paras 924, 925, 946).
It assessed existing proposals for a special tribunal for the crime of aggression, namely (1) the Chatham House Proposal based on States granting jurisdiction to a dedicated tribunal as well as (2) the Yale Club Proposal and (3) the Proposal by the Ukraine Task Force of the Global Accountability Network, both based on the involvement of the UN General Assembly requesting the establishment of such a tribunal (paras 927-934).
The Commission of Inquiry made recommendations for the on-going reflection process of States, inter alia, that (1) “a certain degree of cooperation and coordination” may be advisable between the ICC and a possible special tribunal, that (2) a revision of Article 15bis of the Rome Statute to cover nationals of Non-States Parties “could limit criticism based on selectivity”, that (3) “a sufficient number of globally dispersed States should support the establishment of a special tribunal” to address legitimacy concerns and that (4) a new tribunal must be “independent, impartial and observe all fair trial rights” (paras 936-945).