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.
ICC jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression activated: On this day the International Criminal Court can finally begin exercising jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. We now have, for the first time in history, a permanent international court with jurisdiction over the crime of aggression – the worst form of the illegal use of force. And indeed, the moment could not be more auspicious. The provisions on the legality of the use of force – a centerpiece of the United Nations Charter – are frequently challenged these days and at times openly ignored. The conviction that armed conflict between States was largely a phenomenon of the past has been replaced by concerns that international armed conflicts may be back on the rise. We therefore, more than ever, need a strong, independent, international Court with jurisdiction over the most serious forms of the illegal use of force.
ICC Assembly of States Parties (ASP) decides to activate the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression: In the early morning hours of 15 December, the 123 States Parties to the Rome Statute made the historic decision to enable the ICC to prosecute the crime of aggression. This marks the first time that humanity has had a permanent international court with the authority to hold individuals accountable for their decisions to commit aggression – the worst form of the illegal use of force. The ICC will be able to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression as of 17 July 2018, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute. The Court’s jurisdiction will be determined by the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression, which were adopted in 2010 under the ASP presidency of Liechtenstein’s UN Ambassador, Christian Wenaweser. Following the activation decision on 15 December, Ambassador Wenaweser recalled that “the Court’s jurisdiction is determined by the Rome Statute and States Parties are not only committed to the independence of the Court, but have an obligation not to infringe upon its mandate. We have expressed repeatedly our view that the Court’s jurisdiction relating to the crime of aggression is founded in articles 15 bis and 15 ter, which were adopted by consensus in Kampala. Article 15 bis paragraph 4 in particular is itself based on article 12 of the Rome Statute in which is enshrined the cardinal principle of the Court’s territorial jurisdiction.” The historic decision to activate the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression not only completes the Rome Statute as originally drafted, but also reinforces the Charter of the United Nations and will help to deter aggressive war-making in the future.
Panama 35th State to ratify Kampala Amendments: On 6 December 2017, Panama deposited its instrument of ratification of the Kampala amendments, becoming the 35th State to ratify the amendments.
From Nuremberg to New York: Historic Opportunity to Activate ICC Jurisdiction over Crime of Aggression (VIDEO): In December 2017, the first permanent independent international criminal court in history stands on the brink of having the jurisdiction to hold national leaders accountable for the illegal use of force against other states. The 1998 Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court, an international court that has jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes as well as the crime of aggression. But, the States Parties to the ICC could not agree to the definition of the Crime of Aggression until 2010, when a diplomatic breakthrough in Kampala, Uganda finally produced consensus on the international legal definition of the crime.
From Nuremberg in 1945 through Tokyo, Rome, The Hague and Kampala, this film tracks the legal and moral debate more than seven decades in the making. History can be made in New York in 2017 when the States Parties of the International Criminal Court have the opportunity to activate the court’s jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression.
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.
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.
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.
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.