ICC to assume jurisdiction over ‘crime of aggression’ tomorrow



The International Criminal Court (ICC) will assume jurisdiction over the crime of aggression from tomorrow, the twentieth anniversary of the ICC’s founding Rome Statute.

The fourth “core” crime of the ICC was set out in the ICC Statute in 1998, but the state parties agreed at the time to suspend the ICC’s jurisdiction until they could agree a common definition.

Last December, after nearly two weeks of intense negotiations, the state parties agreed to activate the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression with effect from 17 July 2018.

The state parties had earlier agreed a definition of the crime at the Kampala Review Conference in 2010.

The revised definition defines a crime of aggression as “the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations”.

An “act of aggression” under the definition includes “the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State”.