24 May 2010 11:34:00.000
The International Criminal Court (ICC) will make history next week when its supporting States meet in Uganda to consider adding a new crime to the range of offences it can currently prosecute.
The University's International Criminal Justice Unit, Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) is one of only eight outsourcing partners of the ICC, and the only UK partner. It will be represented by Dr Olympia Bekou.
During the ICC review in Kampala, the Court will consider adding the crime of aggression to its jurisdiction, enabling the Court to prosecute individuals for waging war against other States. The proposal defines aggression as: “the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which, by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations.
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Despite the Nuremberg trials after World War II, the crime of aggression has failed to make it into the statute books, leading experts to highlight the historic nature of this review.
But the idea of this new crime is not without controversy, particularly in the US —currently not a member of the ICC — where some experts feel the new crime would pose a threat to America’s ability to defend itself. Despite this, US President Barack Obama has indicated he will send a panel of experts to the conference to participate.
“This is one of the most significant periods in the history of the ICC,” said Dr Bekou. “The review in Kampala, will no doubt strengthen the ICC and improve its efficacy in prosecuting suspected war criminals.
“To be involved is a great honour and a commendation for the work carried out at Nottingham”.
The Rome Statute of the ICC was adopted in 1998 to stop impunity for serious international crimes which threaten the peace and security of mankind. The Court sits in The Hague and has issued an arrest warrant for, amongst others, Sudan's president Al Bashir for crimes allegedly committed in Darfur.
This will be the very first review of the ICC, and significantly takes place in a post-conflict country under investigation by the Court. The conference will be attended by delegates from 136 states and over 600 NGOs.
The University's International Criminal Justice Unit, Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) is one of only eight outsourcing partners of the ICC, and the only UK partner.
HRLC has provided a unique tool to the ICC in the execution of its duties. The Centre's ground-breaking National Implementing Legislation Database (NILD) was designed exclusively to provide a fully searchable database of all legislation implementing the ICC Statute.
Dr Bekou will showcase NILD's effectiveness to State and NGO delegates. Accreditation to an international conference of this magnitude is rarely given to academic institutions, making Nottingham unique in its ability to contribute to the historic developments taking place in Uganda from the 31 May to 11 June.
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