Who Is Afraid of the Crime of Aggression?

Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2020

17 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2019 Last revised: 20 Nov 2019

See all articles by Kevin Jon Heller

Kevin Jon Heller

University of Amsterdam; Australian National University

Date Written: August 21, 2019


Immediately after the historic adoption of the aggression amendments on 14 December 2017, a number of participants in the negotiations expressed their belief that activating the crime of aggression would help deter states from engaging in the illegal use of force. Unfortunately, the version of the crime adopted in New York is but a pale shadow of the kind of criminal prohibition capable of convincing would-be aggressors that they will be held accountable for their acts. Instead, as this article explains, the crime of aggression at the ICC is so jurisdictionally narrow, so substantively limited, and so unlikely to promote domestic prosecutions that its deterrent value is essentially nonexistent.

Keywords: ICL, international criminal law, aggression, deterrence, use of force, jus ad bellum

Suggested Citation

Heller, Kevin Jon, Who Is Afraid of the Crime of Aggression? (August 21, 2019). Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3440408 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3440408

Kevin Jon Heller (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Amsterdam, 1018 WB

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

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