The International Criminal Court Review Conference opened today, May 31, 2010 in Kampala, Uganda. The Conference has drawn thousands of participants, including heads of state, ministers, diplomats and other State officials, NGOs, parliamentarians, academics, media and officials from international courts and from the United Nations (including the current Secretary General and his predecessor). The conference is hosted by Uganda, the first State Party to refer a situation to the Court and a site of the Court’s earliest investigations.
The Review Conference marks the first opportunity to consider amendments to the Rome Statute, which was adopted at a Diplomatic Conference in 1998. The centre of attention on the agenda is the crime of aggression, which has brought to the fore contrasting visions of the role of the ICC and its relationship with other international institutions. Other proposed amendments include war crimes and the ‘transitional provision’ (discussed below). The scope of the Review Conference has expanded beyond discussion of amendments; participants have seized the opportunity for a deeper discussion on the future shape of international criminal justice. Thus, a “stock-taking” exercise is taking place to discuss complementarity, cooperation, peace and justice, and the impact on victims and affected communities.
The crime of aggression presents by far the most controversial, the most complex and most profound questions. Read the rest of this entry…