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

ICC Internships

ICC BuildingBy Mel O’Brien

On Otto’s post about UN internships, we have received a question about ICC internships, so I thought I would write a separate post about these, as they are different to UN internships. The post asked about the recruitment process and time-line for that. I did an ICC clerkship some years ago now, in the Legal Advisory Section of the OTP. To be honest, I can’t remember exactly when I applied, but it was possibly December. The clerkship I did started in September, and I think I had a reply about it sometime around April or May. A friend of mine doing a clerkship now with the OPCD applied for his in May, heard back last August, & started in December. So it takes about 3-5 months before you will hear back from them. The application process is detailed on the ICC website, under the "recruitment" section, "Internships and visiting professionals". Continue reading

One appeal dismissed, another upheld

By Mel O’Brien

This afternoon the Appeals Chamber of the ICC delivered its decision on the Prosecutor’s appeal against two decisions of the Trial Chamber in the Lubanga case. The first appeal was against the Trial Chamber’s decision of 13 June 2008, imposing a stay of proceedings on the case. The Prosecutor argued that the Trial Chamber had misinterpreted and mischaracterized the use of Article 54(3)(e), and that the imposition of a stay of proceedings was premature and excessive. Despite the Prosecutor seeking to amend the appeal to only the third ground, the Appeals Chamber saw all three grounds as inextricably linked and therefore delivered a decision on all three grounds.

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