Review Conference of the Rome Statute
The International Criminal Court was established in 2002 by the Rome Statute as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals accused of the most serious crimes of international concern. The Rome Statute provided that a review conference be held seven years after the entry into force, which happened in July 2002.
Scope of Conference
The Review Conference considered amendments to the Rome Statute and the Statute made specific reference to reviewing the list of crimes within the court's jurisdiction. The final resolution when the Rome Statute was signed specifically recommended that the review should reconsider including drug trafficking and terrorism in the list of crimes, and also agreeing on a definition of aggression so that the court can exercise its jurisdiction over this crime.
Two amendments to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court were adopted. The first one is to extend the jurisdiction of the Court over some war crimes committed in non-international conflicts for which it already had jurisdiction if committed in international conflicts. The second one defines the crime of aggression and lays out conditions for the jurisdiction of the Court to be in force.
The transitional provision of Article 124 regarding the war crimes opt-out was also discussed at the review conference but it was decided to retain it for the time being.
There was some disagreement as to whether the amendment relating to the definition of the crime of aggression needs ratification by seven eighths of the states parties (as a change of institutional provisions would) to enter into force or if it comes only in force for those countries that have ratified it (as a change of crime provisions would and as the amendment itself puts it). With the latter view prevailing, the Security Council could also refer to the Court a situation regarding a crime of aggression allegedly committed by a national of a non-state party.
In November 2009, South Africa floated a proposal at the Assembly of States Party that the power of the United Nations Security Council to defer an investigation should also be given to the United Nations General Assembly. This followed the African Union's unsuccessful attempt to defer the investigation in Darfur.
Targeting of Journalists
The British television media company, ITN, wrote to the UK government in 2007 asking them to support an amendment to the definition of war crimes to include the intentional targeting of journalists.
- See Article 123 of the Rome Statute
- Amnesty International, 2 November 2006. International Criminal Court: Concerns at the fifth session of the Assembly of States Parties. Accessed 2006-12-05.
- Discussion paper proposed by the Chairman, International Criminal Court - Assembly of State Parties, 2007-01-16, accessed on 2007-10-14 See footnote 1 on page 3
- SA’s bold proposal shows up the flaws in the Rome compromise, Business Day, 2009-12-29
- Trinidad Ambassador Wants International Court To Include Drug Crimes, Heat Beat News, 2007-10-04, accessed on 2007-10-05
- ITN seeks law to protect war reporters, The Guardian, 2007-10-16, accessed on 2007-10-29