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.


16 JUN 2017

Argentina 34th State to ratify Kampala Amendments: On 28 April 2017, Argentina deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala amendments, becoming the 34th State to ratify the amendments.

16 JUN 2017

Portugal ratifies Kampala Amendments: On 11 April 2017, Portugal deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala amendments, becoming the 33rd State to ratify the amendments. Portugal is also the 15th NATO Member State to ratify the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression, meaning a majority of NATO Member States have now ratified the amendments.

26 SEP 2016

Chile ratifies Kampala Amendments: On 23 September 2016, Chile deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala Amendments during the UN Treaty Event, which was held on the margins of this year’s UN General Debate. Chile thus became the 32nd country to ratify the Kampala Amendments, and the 5th country from the Latin American and Caribbean region to do so.

26 SEP 2016

The Netherlands ratifies Kampala Amendments: On 23 September 2016, The Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, Bert Koenders, deposited his country’s instrument of ratification of the Kampala Amendments during the United Nations Treaty Event, which was held on the margins of the UN General Debate. The ratification of The Netherlands is particularly important, not only because they are the 31st State to do so, but also since The Netherlands is the host State for the International Criminal Court.

08 JUL 2016

The Republic of Kenya is first State Party to lodge declaration of non-acceptance of ICC jurisdiction over the crime of aggression: Pursuant to article 15 bis (4) of the Rome Statute, a State Party can declare that it does not accept ICC jurisdiction regarding the crime of aggression by lodging a declaration with the ICC Registrar. On 30 November 2015,  Kenya lodged their declaration of non-acceptance with the Registrar: https://www.icccpi.int/iccdocs/other/2015_NV_Kenya_Declaration_article15bis-4.pdf

28 JUN 2016

The State of Palestine key 30th ICC State Party to ratify Kampala Amendments: On 26 June 2016, the State of Palestine deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala Amendments. With 30 ratifications achieved, all that is needed now is for ICC States Parties to take an activation decision on the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in 2017. This is a historic day! We are now one step closer to a permanent system of accountability at the international level for this supreme crime.

22 JUN 2016

Iceland ratifies Kampala Amendments: On 17 June 2016, Iceland deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala Amendments with the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Its parliament had approved the ratification earlier the same month. Iceland is the 29th State Party to the Kampala Amendments. With several other domestic ratification processes complete or nearing completion, we are very close to reaching the milestone of 30 ratifications this year. Mr. Oláfur Ragnar Grímson, President of Iceland: “I am proud of being a part of this important decision for my country, which illustrates its commitment to international justice and the strong role of the Rule of Law. I would like to call on all States that have not yet done so, to continue ratifying the Kampala Amendments in order to not only reach the milestone of 30 ratifications necessary for the activation of the Amendments but also to demonstrate the respect for the territorial integrity of States and peace and security around the world. I firmly believe that my country’s step in this direction will serve as an inspiration to all the States to take the initiative and join the group of countries that are sending a strong message that the illegal use of force has no role in international relations and those who launch aggressive wars shall be held accountable.”

Photo: Ambassador of Italy to the UN, Sebastiano Cardi, Ambassador of Iceland to the UN, Einar Gunnarsson and the Chief of the UN Treaty Section Santiago Villalpando on 17 June 2016.


09 MAR 2016

Legal scholars debate crime of aggression amendments: Last week, Professors Claus Kreß and Harold Koh led a spirited discussion on some of the details of the Kampala Amendments in New York. They discussed the activation of the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in 2017, including the precise extent of the Court’s jurisdiction as well as the question of humanitarian intervention. Don’t miss the arguments raised by Stefan Barriga, Liechtenstein’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN and co-drafter of the Kampala Amendments, at 1:01:15, as to how some of the concerns raised can be met with pragmatic solutions – especially in light of the fact that the amendments establish a very limited, consent-based jurisdictional regime. Carrie McDougall, Legal Adviser of the Australian Mission to the UN, at 1:10:15, noted that for those States that have ratified the amendments, there are no jurisdictional ambiguities – meaning that ratifying the amendments would help solve any remaining questions in this regard.

The International Criminal Court and the Crime of Aggression from German Center for Research and I on Vimeo.

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