Three More Countries Ratify Amendments to the Rome Statute on the Crime of Aggression
In a 9/29/14 press release, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute announced that Latvia, Poland, and Spain deposited their respective instruments of ratification of the 2010 amendments to the Rome Statute on the crime of aggression. Article 5 of the Rome Statute enumerates the crimes within the subject matter jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Although article 5(d) always listed the crime of aggression as one of the crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction (since 1998), it was not until the June 2010 Review Conference of the Rome Statute, that article 8 bis (Crime of Aggression) was articulated, amending so the Rome Statute. Article 8 bis and all other amendments related to the crime of aggression were inserted in the Rome Statute by resolution RC/Res. 6 of 11 June 2010.
Further, as stated in article 15 bis (2), “[t]he Court may exercise jurisdiction only with respect to crimes of aggression committed one year after the ratification or acceptance of the amendments by thirty States Parties,” leaving States Parties with ample time to decide whether to ratify the amendments or not. Lichtenstein became the first State Party to ratify the crime of aggression amendments on 8 May 2012, followed by Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, and most recently Latvia, Poland, and Spain. There are so far 18 States Parties that have ratified or accepted the amendments on the crime of aggression as articulated during the 2010 Review Conference held in Kampala, Uganda.
The crime of aggression amendments were not the only amendments achieved during the 2010 review conference. Additionally, as stated in resolution RC/Res. 5 of 10 June 2010, a set of amendments pertaining to article 8 of the Rome Statute were also adopted. These amendments addressed “the characterization of the use of certain weapons during non-international armed conflict as war crimes.” There are so far 21 States Parties that have ratified or accepted these amendments pertaining to article 8, also including Latvia, Poland, and Spain.