Swansea University - News Archive

News & Events Archive for 2010-2011

Items are listed in chronological order by publication date.

    Professor Claus Kress presented a lecture on “ The Kampala Compromise on the Crime of Aggression – Legal Intricacies and Policy Implications”


    Professor Kress, Professor of Criminal Law and Public International Law and Director of the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Cologne University recently delivered a lecture at Swansea University on the ‘The Kampala Compromise on the Crime of Aggression – Legal Intricacies and Policy Implications’. Professor Kress  acted as War Crimes Expert for the Prosecutor General for East Timor (2001), as Head of the ICC’s Drafting Committee for the Regulations of the Court (2004) and as a sub-coordinator and focal point in the negotiations on the crime of aggression.  Since 1998 he has represented Germany in the negotiations regarding the International Criminal court.

     After two weeks of intense debate and years of preparatory work, on 11 June 2010, the Review Conference of Rome Statute (held in Kampala, Uganda between 31 May and 11 June 2010) adopted by consensus amendments to the Rome Statute which include a definition of the crime of aggression and a regime establishing how the Court will exercise its jurisdiction over this crime.  The lecture first set the context, detailing the ‘historic’ road from the adoption of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998, to the adoption by the First Review Conference on this Statute of the package proposal on the crime of aggression in Kampala. The latter decision concludes decades of preparatory work and completes the Rome Statute. The speaker set out the key pillars of the compromise from an insider's perspective and placed them into their broader international law and policy context. His fascinating lecture explained the substance of the crime of aggression as a leadership crime. An act of aggression is defined as the use of armed force by one State against another State without the justification of self-defence or authorisation by the Security Council (Art. 8bis). It closely follows the UN General Assembly Definition of Aggression combined with a threshold criterion that the act of aggression must constitute a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

     The lecture focused on the core problem of the conditions under which the International Criminal Court will be able to exercise jurisdiction over acts alleged to constitute crimes of aggression pursuant to articles 15 bis and 15 ter. Under these provisions, the ICC prosecutor may institute proceedings of its own motion and will not be required to seek authorisation from the UN Security Council, provided the Pre-Trial Division of the Court has authorised the commencement of the investigation. The very controversial article 15 bis also provides that States Parties may opt-out of the Court’s jurisdiction under the article by lodging a declaration of non-acceptance of jurisdiction with the Court’s Registrar. Professor Kress forcefully argued that this regime had amended the provisions of the Rome Statute on the entry into force of amendments to it (Art. 121) and that ratification of the amendments by the State whose nationals might by prosecuted for acts of aggression was not needed. The conditions for entry into force decided upon in Kampala provide that the Court will not be able to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime until after 1 January 2017 when a decision is to made by States Parties to activate the jurisdiction but Professor Kress emphasized that it was the understanding of Kampala that negotiations would not be reopened.

     The lecture was well attended, and a lively discussion ensued after the lecture. Professor Kress said that ‘he was extremely honoured to speak in front of this spirited audience on this most topical subject in Swansea University’ and PhD law student, Temitope Akeremale commented that this ‘lecture was on a topic of extreme importance particularly for Africa’.




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