University of Sussex
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The crime of aggression: the negotiations to bring the crime into force and the extent to which they have advanced international criminal justice

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posted on 2023-06-09, 17:25 authored by Sean Summerfield
This thesis focuses on the Rome Statute Amendments on the Crime of Aggression and the extent to which they represent a step forward in the advancement of international criminal justice. This thesis charts the development of the criminalisation of aggression and takes a critical look at the positions of delegations during the negotiations, the jurisdiction and entry-into-force provisions adopted in December 2017, and what these mean for international justice and the International Criminal Court. Although there remains considerable room for judicial refinement of the definition, particularly with regard to the scope of the ‘manifest’ threshold requirement, it nevertheless represents a significant step forward in the development of international criminal law, and provides a reasonable basis by which future acts of aggression can be judged. As to the jurisdictional remit, this thesis laments the restrictive nature of the framework adopted. The consent-based regime will seriously limit the prospect of future prosecutions. That being said, it was a willingness to find a delicate balance between a Security Council monopoly and an expansive regime that ensured an agreeable outcome, and there is virtue in that. The success of the aggression amendments has always been in the hands of states. With each ratification, the Court is strengthened. If the international community is serious about punishing the aggressive waging of war, it must rally behind the Court rather than undermine the promises made in Kampala. The real power of the amendments perhaps lies not in the frequency with which they will be used to punish crimes of aggression, but in the extent to which they confirm the aggressive waging of war as illegal under international law. The amendments represent an important step forward.


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University of Sussex

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