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International Criminal Court Update

WFM – Canada and officials at Global Affairs Canada co-convened a meeting November 1 to discuss a range of topics related to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC’s annual Assembly of States Parties (ASP) takes place December 4 to 14 at UN headquarters in New York.

With important elections taking place, as well as a pending decision on the activation of ICC jurisdiction over the crime of aggression, this year’s ASP meetings are attracting considerable interest. 26 Canadian CSOs joined the meeting with members of Canada’s delegation.

A Canadian, Kimberly Prost is a candidate for election as one of six new ICC judges.

Regarding the crime of aggression, earlier this year the number of ratifications (30) required to codify the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute was surpassed. 34 states have now ratified. The remaining step is a political decision, likely to be taken at this year’s ASP, on whether to “activate” the ICC’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression.

Unfortunately, Canada and a small number of states (led by Security Council members UK and France) are seeking support for “clarifications” that would in effect re-open the compromise that was agreed in 2010 at Kampala. A position paper put forward earlier this year outlines the concerns raised by UK, France, Canada, Norway, Japan et al. A response to these views from Liechtenstein recalls the consensus reached in Kampala.

At the November 1 meeting, WFM – Canada representatives and others were critical of the Canadian actions. It was recalled that aggression is the fourth core crime within the Court’s jurisdiction and that by ratifying the Rome Statute states parties have agreed to the process for incorporating and activating ICC jurisdiction over aggression, as well as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

A fact sheet on crime of aggression prepared by the Coalition for the International Criminal Court is available here.

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