New Publication Focuses on Ratification and Implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the United Nations and the Global Institute for the Prevention of Aggression, has published a handbook on the ratification and implementation of the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The handbook is a resource for states in ratifying and implementing amendments adopted by consensus at the Rome Statute Review Conference held in Kampala, Uganda, in June 2012, that are critical to the process of effectively criminalizing the illegal use of force in international affairs. 

The handbook provides an historical overview of the development of international law related to the Crime of Aggression and to War Crimes, definitions and clear explanations of the Kampala Amendments, and information about ratification and jurisdiction. As noted in the handbook's introduction, upon ratification of the Kampala Amendments, "for the first time in history, a permanent independent international court will have the competence to hold national leaders accountable for the most serious forms of the illegal use of force against other States," a watershed event for both "international law and in the quest for global peace and security."

Beginning in 2004,LISD hosted five annual Intersessional Meetings of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression at Princeton University as part of the Princeton Process on the Crime of Aggression. When the Statute of the International Criminal Court was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference in Rome in July 1998, the Court was given jurisdiction over the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as well as the crime of aggression. Although there was agreement that the Court should have jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, no agreement was reached on the definition of this crime. The Preparatory Commission and, thereafter, the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC were given the task of preparing proposals for a provision “defining the crime and setting out the conditions under which the Court shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to this crime.”  

At the September 2003 meeting of the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression, in the context of the Second Assembly of States Parties, interest was expressed in holding an intersessional meeting before the next formal meeting of the Working Group in September 2004. The Special Working Group meetings hosted at Princeton by LISD brought together delegates from ICC state parties, other states, and NGOs who collectively worked to create a definition of the crime of aggression under the ICC Statute. These meetings contributed to the ultimate objective of defining the Crime of Aggression and provided the underpinnings for the subsequent work that culminated at the 2010 Kampala Review Conference and the definition and delineation of a jurisdictional regime for the crime of aggression.