14 Jun Harrington’s Final Take on the Kampala Review Conference
Having called her out a few hours ago not knowing she was on her way back from Uganda, I thought I should excerpt Joanna Harrington’s final post on the Review Conference, where she offers another great account of the final negotiations. She also offers this final take, which is more positive than Kevin’s take:
For some, it will undoubtedly seem self-defeating to define the crime of aggression and agree on the modalities for its prosecution only to defer effective entry into force and allow states to opt out of the regime. But it is important to recall that international law, including international criminal law, is a slowly evolving and maturing phenomenon. Instant gratification is not within the culture of international law.
But we have moved forward along a continuum marked by the abortive attempts to prosecute the German Kaiser after WWI for a “supreme offence against international morality”, to Nüremberg’s successful if limited prosecutions of “crimes against peace”, to the eventual establishment of the ICC in 1998 after the Cold War years stymied earlier efforts to establish a system of international criminal justice. From this perspective, and to use an analogy that comes to mind after taking four flights to return home, the caveats and delays built into the Kampala amendments are the last few twists and turns on the final approaches to the destination.
Those impatient to see the ICC exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression may take comfort that it is now simply a matter of time. Others may, however, welcome the delay, viewing the ICC’s jurisdiction with respect to crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide as of prime importance and a priority for its efforts.