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Law: International Criminal Court Amends “Crime of Aggression”

On 11 June 2010, the Review Conference of the Rome Statute concluded in Kampala, Uganda, after meeting for two weeks.

The Conference adopted a resolution by which it amended the Rome Statute so as to include a definition of the crime of aggression and the conditions under which the Court could exercise jurisdiction with respect to the crime.

The Conference based the definition of the crime of aggression on United Nations General Assembly resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974, and in this context agreed to qualify as aggression, a crime committed by a political or military leader which, by its character, gravity and scale constituted a manifest violation of the Charter.

Blockades of ports or coasts of a State by armed forces of another State, as well as an invasion or attack by troops of one State on the territory of another, are considered as acts of aggression under the statute, which will not become effective until 2017 and will apply to selected states only.

The resolution was greeted with support from the Australian government, who reiterated support fot the ICC.

The Review Conference of the Rome Statute also adopted a resolution by which it amended article 8 to bring under the jurisdiction of the ICC the war crime of employing certain poisonous weapons and expanding bullets, asphyxiating or poisonous gases, and all analogous liquids, materials and devices, when committed in armed conflicts not of an international character.

Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, President of the Assembly of States Parties, closing the Review Conference

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