To follow up on our previous post, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reports in its December 8, 2014 press release that on December 5, 2014, another state, Georgia, deposited the instrument of ratification of the 2010 amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression. This ratification brings the number of ratifications of the crime of aggression amendments to a total of twenty so far. The press release further notes that Georgia “is the seventh country from the Eastern European Group to have ratified this set of amendments,” following Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
The crime of aggression was included in the Rome Statute in 1998 but the definition of the crime and the process by which the Court can exercise jurisdiction over this crime was not articulated until the 2010 Review Conference in Kampala, Uganda. These amendments are set to go in effect on January 1, 2017 and the Court will be able to exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once thirty States Parties have ratified the amendments.
Article 8 bis (1) articulates the definition of 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.
Article 8 bis (2) further states that act of aggression means
the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.
The definition directly draws on the principles articulated in and established by the UN Charter, namely Article 2(4). In light of the continuous situation in Ukraine and Crimea, can we expect more ratifications soon?