International Criminal Court Redux

>> Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Later this year, state parties will get together to revisit the Statute for the International Criminal Court. Definitely on the agenda is clarifying the crime of aggression, which was left hanging in 1998 in order to bring discussions to a close. But governments also have the opportunity to add new crimes to the list of those under the court's jurisdiction (as well as suggest procedural changes). So far proposals relating to jurisdiction include:

1) A proposal by Trinidad and Tobago to try drug traffickers at the ICC. (If in 1989 you suggest a court for this specific purpose, and if nine years later states construct that very court while tabling the issue for which you originally suggested it, instead making it a court to try genocidaires and war criminals, try try again.)

2) A proposal by Belgium to extend the list of prohibited conventional weapons. (Roger Clark has an interesting essay on Article 8 in a Special Double Issue of the New Criminal Law Review organized by Opinio Juris' Kevin Jon Heller.)

3) A proposal by the Netherlands to include terrorism in the court's jurisdiction alongside aggression, war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. (Unlike the drug trafficking proposal, which actually aims to define the crime, Netherlands only proposes to include the crime of terrorism hypothetically, pending an agreed definition. Smart. Also somewhat meaningless.)

4) A proposal by Mexico to include the use of nuclear weapons under the definition of war crimes. (Good luck with that.)

Apparently no "States Parties" have taken up suggestions that piracy be added to the list of crimes under ICC jurisdiction.

[cross-posted at Current Intelligence]


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