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International criminal law

EU governments must allow International Criminal Court to rule on crimes of aggression

The European Parliament today adopted a resolution on international criminal law and the crime of aggression, exactly sixteen years after the adoption of the Rome Statute, setting up the International Criminal Court (ICC). The resolution, initiated by the Green foreign policy and human rights spokesperson Barbara Lochbihler, calls on all EU governments to step up their efforts in the fight against impunity, most importantly by ratifying the 'Kampala Amendment' on the crime of aggression (1). Commenting after the vote, Barbara Lochbihler said:

"It is high time that the ICC was empowered to also rule over crimes of aggression in addition to its existing mandate. EU governments can play a crucial role to this end by ratifying the 'Kampala Amendment'. The resolution adopted with a large majority by the European Parliament today puts pressure on them to do so.

"Ratification by 30 states is required for the Amendment to take effect but, four years on, only 14 have done so. The failure by a large number of EU governments to ratify is unacceptable and flies in the face of their oft-repeated commitments to peace and international justice. Time is running out to ensure the ICC can be given this new role, and EU governments cannot stand idly by and wait for the 2016 deadline to expire."

(1) At a review conference in Kampala in 2010, the ICC state parties decided to give the court jurisdiction over crimes of aggression: this would mean that each country that attacks another state in the absence of any previous belligerent activities committed by the latter could be prosecuted and punished by the ICC. Until now, the ICC has had jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, genocides and war crimes. To come into force, the amendment has to be ratified by 30 states by 2016.