JUNE 6, 2010: ICC Should Handle Aggression Crime

ICC Should Handle Aggression Crime
SOURCE: The New Vision
The definition of the crime of aggression and its applicability remains a thorny issue at the International Criminal Court review conference in Kampala.Aggression is one of the crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC under the Rome statute.

What is left is to adopt its definition and set out conditions under which the Court will exercise its jurisdiction An act of aggression is considered to be the use of armed force by a State against another, without previous authorization of the United Nations Security Council and without self defence justification.

It is proposed that an individual in a leadership position is criminally responsible for the crime of aggression, when planning, preparing, initiating or executing a crime

A few days to the end of the conference there is still a divergence of views on the matter.

There is broad support from a majority of the State parties for the ICC to handle this crime.

But the US, as one the three of the five permanent members of the Security Council who have refused to sign the treaty, is calling for more consultations.

US also say the ICC Prosecutor's powers are excessive. US want the UN Security Council to determine the crime. The danger with this proposal is that as a permanent Security Council member, the US can veto some decisions of the Court.

Allowing the Security Council to determine the crime would be limiting the Courts powers and tampering with its judicial independence.

Besides the behaviour of the US in delaying the adoption of this crime raises a question of double standards in international criminal justice. Of course there must be clarity and consensus on this issue. But there is need to put an end to a culture of impunity globally. The Kampala meeting should give the ICC the powers to determine this crime.

This will send a strong signal against global injustice.