The International Criminal Court (ICC) is in future to have jurisdiction not only over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, but also over the crime of aggression. Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle deposited Germany’s instrument of acceptance of the Kampala amendments to the ICC’s Rome Statute today (3 June) in New York. Germany has thus now officially ratified the amendments agreed in Kampala.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement in New York:
“I am delighted that Germany is one of the first states parties to the Rome Statute to ratify these historic amendments. In future the crime of aggression will also be subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
By extending its jurisdiction in this way, we are supporting the International Criminal Court in its efforts to end impunity for egregious violations of human rights.
The agreement reached in Kampala in 2010 was a breakthrough for the further development of international criminal law. The Federal Republic of Germany played a key role in bringing the negotiations in Kampala to a successful conclusion.”
Following intense debate at the first-ever Review Conference on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which took place from 31 May to 11 June 2010 in Kampala (Uganda), the states parties adopted a definition of the “crime of aggression” and agreed on the conditions under which the Court may exercise jurisdiction. The “crime against peace”, as the crime of aggression was known at the Nuremberg war trials, was instrumental with respect to the prosecution of the major war criminals after World War II.
Amendments to Article 8 of the Rome Statute were also agreed at the Kampala Review Conference. Article 8 already prohibited the use of specific weapons and ammunition in international armed conflicts. In Kampala the use of such weapons and bullets in non international armed conflicts was added to the list of war crimes, reflecting the position under customary international law.
The ICC was established in The Hague in accordance with the terms of the Rome Statute, which entered into force on 1 July 2002. It has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes which affect the international community as a whole: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and now also the crime of aggression.