The International Criminal Court’s Exercise of Jurisdiction Over the Crime of Aggression – At Last ... In Reach ... Over Some
Göttingen Journal of International Law 2/2 (2010) 745-89
47 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2012
Date Written: September 17, 2010
The first review conference to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, held in June 2010 in Kampala successfully concluded decades of negotiations over a statutory definition of the crime of aggression and its prosecution by a permanent international criminal court. The main unresolved issues to be addressed by the review conference concerned the determination of an act of aggression as a (procedural) prerequisite for the exercise of jurisdiction over the crime of aggression and the appropriate activation procedure for a provision on aggression. Most importantly, the compromise of Kampala could safeguard an independent and effective criminal prosecution of the crime of aggression by not subjugating the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction to decisions of outside organs. However, in case of a referral of a situation by a State Party or the initiation of a proprio motu investigation, the Court’s reach over perpetrators is significantly narrowed with a view to crimes of aggression involving a non-state party or a state-party that does not accept the Court’s exercise of jurisdiction. These concessions, built on state consent to the exercise of criminal prosecution over individuals and elements of reciprocity, concepts that are alien to the Rome Statute, form part of a political compromise that enabled the activation of the Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.
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By Kai Ambos