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[Statement] Statement regarding the draft resolution on the crime of aggression at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

The Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will convene in Kampala, Uganda from May 31 to June 11, 2010. The Conference is the first meeting of ICC state parties to consider amendments to the Rome Statue since the Statue entered into force in 2002.


Human Rights Now (HRN), an international human rights NGO based in Tokyo, requests all the governments to take advantage of this occasion and work harder on the reinforcement of the ICC and the realization of the rule of law in the world.

1. Jurisdiction over the crime of aggression should be granted to the ICC through the amendments to the Rome Statute.

One of the biggest points of contention at the Conference is the amendment of the Rome Statute, regarding the crime of aggression.


However, we have seen situations where acts of aggression were committed and innocent civilians were killed since the Statute took effect in 2002. It is time to adopt amendments to the Statute and enable the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. It is of decisive importance in establishing a solid consensus on the crime of aggression as one of the most serious crimes in international law in order to prevent further aggressions, and implementing a purpose of the Charter of the United Nations which outlaws the use of force in principle.

2.  Conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction over the crime of aggression

HRN supports the definitions of the crime of aggression proposed by the Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression. This is in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolution 3314 (1974). The conditions under which the ICC shall exercise jurisdiction with respect to the crime are still largely in dispute among the States Parties.


The points of contention raised regarding the conditions for the exercise of the jurisdiction over the crime of aggression are whether the ICC Prosecutor can initiate an investigation when the Security Council has not made a determination that an act of aggression, as well as what the conditions to begin its investigation are, if the Prosecutor is able to do so.

HRN does not support the position that the ICC Prosecutor has no authority to initiate its investigation, when the Security Council has not determined that there has been an act of aggression.


The Security Council is the UN body to take responsible action for peace and security, and the Council also bears the primary responsibility to determine an act of aggression. However, the Council should not have exclusive authority on making determinations on crimes of aggression. If we look at the Council's history, there have been a number of cases where the Security Council has failed to take responsibility for the illegal use of force. Granting exclusive authority to the Council involves the risk of the exercise of veto by its permanent members not to determine an explicit act of aggression. If the ICC is denied its jurisdiction over such cases, the independence of the Court will be gravely undermined.


Article 13 of the Rome Statue stipulates that the exercise of jurisdiction by the ICC may be triggered by the Security Council, a State Party, or the Prosecutor acting proprio motu and, in the third case, a decision of the Prosecutor to conduct an investigation proprio muto must be approved by the Pre-Trial Division of the ICC.


It is appropriate to allow the Prosecutor to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression on the same conditions as other crimes referred in the Statute, since there is no reasonable justification for setting stricter conditions only on the crime of aggression. In the case of the State Party referral, a referral by a victim state should suffice to satisfy the conditions to authorize the Court to exercise its jurisdiction.

3. HRN requests all State Parties of the ICC to support:

-  the amendments regarding the crime of aggression; and


- the amendments which do not require stricter conditions to exercise jurisdiction of the ICC,  including the Security Council resolutions.



HRN also requests all State Parties to contribute to the establishment of the rule of law in the world through the amendments.