A Step Closer to Having the Crime of Agression under the ICC Jurisdiction

1. ilawyer photo - Palestine 30th ratification of the Kampala Amendment… A Step closer to having crime of aggression jurisdiction activated before the ICC

On 26 June 2016, Palestine ratified the amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression.

By this ratification, Palestine deposited the thirtieth instrument of ratification which opened the possibility of giving jurisdiction to the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) to try the crime of aggression.

Indeed, the provisions of articles 15 bis and ter of the Rome Statute provide that the ICC will not be able to exercise its jurisdiction over this crime until at least thirty States Parties have ratified or accepted the amendments; and a decision is taken by two–thirds of States Parties to activate the jurisdiction at any time after 1 January 2017. 

The first part of these provisions being completed, the Court may exercise its jurisdiction after 1 January 2017 if the Assembly decides to activate it. Beyond that, the upcoming decision will also determine whether Palestine can be counted toward the necessary quorum of thirty ratifying States.

The amendments on the crime of aggression to the Rome Statute of the ICC were adopted during the Review Conference of the Rome Statute, held in Kampala (Uganda) from 31 May to 11 June 2010.

More particularly, the Article 8 bis defines the individual crime of aggression as “the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person” in a position of power “of an act of aggression“. It contains the threshold requirement that the act of aggression – defined as the “use of armed force” without the justification of self-defense or authorization by the Security Council – must constitute a violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

With the Palestinian ratification, we are now one step closer to a permanent system of accountability at the international level for the crime of aggression which might lead States to give more consideration to the consequences of starting illegal wars…