Defintion of Aggression finally agreed upon for Rome Statute

by Mel O’Brien

The Review Conference of the Rome Statute has just wrapped up in Kampala. While some of what emerged from the Review Conference (RC) were just statements of support for the ICC, one significant result of the RC has been the agreement of a definition of aggression- a definition many thought would never actually happen. However, it is far from an ideal defintion. A few brief observations… Article 8 bis (2)(c) includes in the definition of an act of aggression, ‘The blockade of the ports or coasts of a State by the armed forces of another State’, which immediately brings to mind Israel and the current blockade of Gaza. However, any high ranking Israeli officials certainly do not have to worry about being brought to justice before the ICC anytime soon. Articles 15 bis (3) and 15 ter (3) state: ‘The Court shall exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in accordance with this article, subject to a decision to be taken after 1 January 2017 by the same majority of States Parties as is required for the adoption of an amendment to the Statute’. Thus, while the definition has been agreed upon, the amendment itself has not been made, still may not be made, and even if it is made, won’t be for another seven years. Continue reading