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The Crime of Aggression and the Prohibition of the Use of Force—Reflections on the Relationship between the Rome Statute and General Public International Law

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Rethinking the Crime of Aggression
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Abstract

The crime of aggression becoming operational under the Rome Statute of the ICC can be seen as recourse to the early times of modern international criminal law when securing international peace had been its very rationale. The crime of aggression might become a subjective pillar of the prohibition of the use of force under the UN Charter. However, while the prohibition of the use of force is comprehensive and partially open to new developments of modern warfare, the crime of aggression knows a narrow definition that will also raise difficulties of delimiting the competencies of the ICC in relation to organs of the UN in particular. Combined with the strong (political) opposition to the ICC in general, this might cast doubt as to whether the crime of aggression will actually become a real contribution to the protection of international peace in the near future.

The author wishes to thank particularly Andreas Sauermoser and Laura Thimm-Braun for their assistance with the footnotes and for helpful discussions; he further wishes to thank Magdalena Steringer, Roman Friedrich and Luci Haspinger for their critical reading of the text.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    E.g. Ohmae 1995, pp. 79 et seq., arguing in favour of region States due to economic globalisation; for further reading, see Krasner 2001 passim; in favour of the continuing relevance of the nation State, cf. Fremuth forthcoming; Giraud 2012, pp. 149 et seq.

  2. 2.

    See PCA, Decision of 4 April 1928 (The Netherlands v. United States of America, The Island of Palmas Case), Judge Huber, Award, R.I.A.A. Vol. XI, p. 838–840; ICJ, Judgment of 3 February 2012 (Germany v. Italy, Case Concerning Jurisdictional Immunities of the State), p. 99 para 57, ICJ Reports (2012); ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 paras 212, 265, ICJ Reports (1986); Besson 2011, paras 1–7, 86–156; Crawford 2012, pp. 447–455.

  3. 3.

    See PCIJ, Judgment of 7 September 1927 (France v. Turkey, The Case of the S.S. ‘Lotus’), p. 18, Series A No. 10; furthermore, see recently ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019 (Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965), para 85 (not yet officially published); confirming consent being necessary for disputes to be submitted to judicial settlement. On the decay of consent outside of the channel of traditional law making Krisch 2014, pp. 1 et seq.

  4. 4.

    Cf. Hertogen 2015, pp. 901 et seq., with a critical appraisal of the reception of the Lotus Judgment (see next footnote) and a reading differing from the predominant interpretation; Handeyside 2007, pp. 75 et seq., arguing that the Lotus principle plays hardly any role in the jurisprudence of the ICJ.

  5. 5.

    For Bodin 1583, pp. 223 et seq., father of the modern concept of sovereignty, declaring war was a sovereign right (deriving from the right to legislate) of the monarch being the predecessor of the modern State.

  6. 6.

    For a sceptical historical view, cf. Bernstorff 2018, pp. 233 passim.

  7. 7.

    Gross 1948, pp. 28 et seq.

  8. 8.

    Greenwood 1983, pp. 225 et seq.

  9. 9.

    Traité général de renonciation à la guerre comme instrument de politique nationale, 96 LNTS (1929), 58.

  10. 10.

    Randelzhofer and Dörr 2012, paras 4 et seq.

  11. 11.

    The Briand-Kellogg Pact only banned war, not the use of force in general. According to its definition of war, a State party was still allowed to resort to armed force if it claimed to act without animus belligerendi or employed force ‘short of war’; cf. Neuhold 2015, pp. 19 et seq.

  12. 12.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), para 148, ICJ Reports (2005); Schrijver 2015, p. 473: ‘mother of all provisions’.

  13. 13.

    von Clausewitz 1832, p. 87; note that even though von Clausewitz, calling war a continuation of policy by other means, intended to tame war by stressing that war is not an end in itself.

  14. 14.

    Doehring 2004, paras 245 et seq.

  15. 15.

    Article 227 Treaty of Versailles referred to a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties, thus, it did not criminalise acts of aggression as such.

  16. 16.

    Sellars 2016, p. 46.

  17. 17.

    Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties (1920), pp. 118 et seq.

  18. 18.

    Pella 1925.

  19. 19.

    IMT Nuremberg, Judgment of 1 October 1946 (Prosecutor v. Goering et al.), AJIL 41 (1947), p. 186.

  20. 20.

    Further reading: Heller 2011, pp. 179–202.

  21. 21.

    The non-reactivity principle derives from the nullum crimen sine lege principle which prohibits criminalising acts committed prior to the entry into force of a rule banning such conduct as a crime and which is part of international human rights law; on the debate cf. Popple 1989, pp. 253 et seq.

  22. 22.

    IMT Nuremberg, Judgment of 1 October 1946 (Prosecutor v. Goering et al.), AJIL 41 (1947), pp. 217 et seq.

  23. 23.

    Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1950, Vol. II, p. 374.

  24. 24.

    UNGA Resolution 177 II of 21 November 1947.

  25. 25.

    Lawrence 1989, pp. 406 et seq.

  26. 26.

    UNSC Resolution 827 (1993) of 25 May 1993.

  27. 27.

    UNSC Resolution 918 (1994) of 17 May 1994.

  28. 28.

    Mégret 2018, pp. 835 et seq., expressing fear that the new focus of ICL can undermine traditional prohibitions on the use of force (pp. 843, 848 et seq.).

  29. 29.

    UNGA Resolution 3314 (XXIX) of 14 December 1974.

  30. 30.

    Creegan 2012, pp. 62 et seq., calling aggression a ‘political crime’ requiring a political judgment on potential good reasons for the use of force; Paulus 2009, pp. 1119 et seq., holding that time is not ripe due to the indeterminacy of the definition, its uncertain application to recent cases, the role of the UNSC and potential dangers from concentrating issues of jus in bello and jus contra bellum in one single court.

  31. 31.

    Note that para 2 of Article 5 was deleted after the Kampala Compromise.

  32. 32.

    ICC Resolution RC/Res.6 of 11 June 2010.

  33. 33.

    The range of the leading persons in the State is controversial, cf. Ambos 2010a, pp. 658 et seq.

  34. 34.

    Cf. Article 25 (3bis) Rome Statute.

  35. 35.

    ICC Resolution ICC-ASP/16/Res.5 of 14 December 2017, para 1. The decision was, in fact, adopted by consensus on Friday, 15 December 2017; for more details, see Kreß 2018, pp. 1 et seq., calling the signal that has been sent to the conscience of mankind to be timely (p. 17).

  36. 36.

    In favour Ambos 2010b, p. 487 referring to the principle of legality; contrarily Zimmermann and Freiburg 2016a, Article 8bis para 99; Kreß 2017a, pp. 435 et seq., 451 et seq.; open Paulus 2009, p. 1120.

  37. 37.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua—Merits), p. 14, ICJ Reports (1986).

  38. 38.

    Cf. Kreß 2017a, p. 422 on the basic structure, applying a three-step-approach

  39. 39.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 509–541 arguing that the threshold clause is also intended to keep the crime of aggression within the limits under customary law.

  40. 40.

    Ambos 2010a, p. 655.

  41. 41.

    Article 10 Rome Statute; for further reading Zimmermann and Freiburg 2016a, Article 8bis paras 88 et seq.

  42. 42.

    For further reading, cf. Kreß 2017a, pp. 412–544.

  43. 43.

    For an understanding of the UN Charter as ‘World Constitution’, cf. Fassbender 1998, pp. 531–593.

  44. 44.

    Schmalenbach 2010, p. 747.

  45. 45.

    See ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996 (Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons), p. 226 paras 47–50, ICJ Reports (1996), explicitly not addressing the international use of force; Randelzhofer and Dörr 2012, Article 2 (4), para 28; Kreß 2017a, pp. 432–544.

  46. 46.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua—Merits), p. 14 paras 187–201, ICJ Reports (1986).

  47. 47.

    6 UNCIO Docs. 559 (1945).

  48. 48.

    6 UNCIO Docs. 334–339, 609 (1945).

  49. 49.

    Cf. Article 44 UN Charter and para 7 of its preamble; Dörr 2015, para 11; Randelzhofer and Dörr 2012, Article 2 (4) paras 18 et seq.

  50. 50.

    The ICJ was seized with cases including military action; see ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), p. 168, ICJ Reports (2005), where the Court explicitly referred to military operations as well as military assault (para 110) several times.

  51. 51.

    Cf. the Friendly-Relations-Declaration, UNGA Resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970, dealing mostly with military force and distinguishing it from economic or political forms of coercion being relevant for the principle of non-intervention.

  52. 52.

    Randelzhofer and Dörr 2012, Article 2 (4) paras 17–20.

  53. 53.

    Randelzhofer and Dörr 2012, Article 2 (4) paras 18 et seq.

  54. 54.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 439, 434, 445, 522 et seq.

  55. 55.

    Dinstein 2017, p. 205 paras 542 et seq.

  56. 56.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua—Merits), p. 14 paras 191, 195, ICJ Reports (1986).

  57. 57.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua—Merits), p. 14 para 195, ICJ Reports (1986).

  58. 58.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 6 November 2003 (Islamic Republic of Iran v. United States of America, Case Concerning Oil Platforms), p. 161 para 72, ICJ Reports (2003); critical Dinstein 2017, p. 211 para 553.

  59. 59.

    Schrijver 2015, pp. 465, 471 speaking of a (nearly) fully fledged ban; also against a minimum threshold Dinstein 2017, p. 90 para 247; further reading Ruys 2014, pp. 159 passim on a narrow definition of the term ‘force’ in Article 2 (4) UN Charter.

  60. 60.

    Cf. Kreß 2017a, pp. 425 and 426 et seq., on the question whether Understanding 6 on an intensity requirement refers to the threshold clause under Article 8bis (1) Rome Statute or to the very concept of an act of aggression under para 2. He prefers a connection to para 2, stating that the inherent threshold cannot be high, tough, to preserve an independent meaning of the threshold clause under para 1.

  61. 61.

    Cf. Kreß 2017a, pp. 513–520, arguing, inter alia, that Article 51 UN Charter should not be interpreted too narrowly in order to not make the attacked State legally defenceless against an attack and that such an approach will bring the crime of aggression in line with customary international law.

  62. 62.

    Kreß 2017a, b, p. 424.

  63. 63.

    Cf. Resolution RC/Res.6, Annex II, Elements, para 3; Kreß 2017a, pp. 538–541.

  64. 64.

    The Tribunal noted that ‘[i]nternational law condemns those who, due to their actual power to shape and influence the policy of their nation, prepare for, or lead their country into or in an aggressive war’, see Military Tribunal XII, Judgment of 27 October 1948 (United States of America v. von Leeb et al.), 11 Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10 (1950), p. 489.

  65. 65.

    Schmalenbach 2010, p. 748.

  66. 66.

    Cf. Ambos 2010b, pp. 493 et seq.

  67. 67.

    Available under: http://www.bmi.bund.de/cybersicherheitsstrategie/BMI_CyberSicherheitsStrategie.pdf (accessed 1 March 2021).

  68. 68.

    On the debate, cf. Buchan 2012, pp. 215 et seq.

  69. 69.

    See ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 8 July 1996 (Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons), p. 226 para 39, ICJ Reports (1996).

  70. 70.

    Kilovaty 2015, pp. 229–244 whose argumentation becomes fuzzy and inconsistent when he finally proposes that economic harm has to become equivalent to physical harm in scales and effects (p. 244).

  71. 71.

    Further reading: Schmitt 2017, pp. 330–338.

  72. 72.

    Kreß 2017a, p. 451 on cyber-operations as unlisted acts of aggression under Article 8bis (2) Rome Statute.

  73. 73.

    Dörr 2015, para 26.

  74. 74.

    Dörr 2015, para 21.

  75. 75.

    Cf. the legislative resolutions UNSC Resolution 1373/2001 of 28 September 2001; UNSC Resolution 2178/2014 of 24 September 2014 on the obligation of all States to fight terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters.

  76. 76.

    Zimmermann and Freiburg 2016a, Article 8bis paras 91 et seq.

  77. 77.

    For international treaties requiring States to investigate and prosecute the crime of terrorism cf. Saul 2008, pp. 130 et seq.; also see the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, UNGA Resolution 60/288 of 8 September 2006; the first hybrid tribunal established for the crime of terrorism, was the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which rendered its judgment in Ayyash et al. on 18 August 2020 cf. Fremuth et al. 2020.

  78. 78.

    ICTY, Judgment of 15 July 1999, IT-94-1-A (Prosecutor v. Tadić), paras 116, 145.

  79. 79.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 para 115, ICJ Reports (1986); ICJ, Judgment of 26 February 2007 (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro, Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide), p. 43 paras 399–407, ICJ Reports (2007); for a sceptical appraisal, cf. Cassese 2007, pp. 649 et seq.

  80. 80.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 para 228, ICJ Reports (1986); ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), p. 168, paras 163–165, ICJ Reports (2005).

  81. 81.

    On difficulties, cf. Kreß 2017a, pp. 445 et seq.

  82. 82.

    Crawford 2006, pp. 17–28.

  83. 83.

    UNGA Resolution 67/19 of 4 December 2012, para 2.

  84. 84.

    OTP 2018, pp. 63–69; Hiéramente 2018, pp. 111 et seq.

  85. 85.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 422 et seq.

  86. 86.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 423 stressing its duty to do so.

  87. 87.

    Frowein 1968, pp. 66–69.

  88. 88.

    Critical on the exclusion of ‘Quasi States’ and requiring an amendment of the Rome Statute: Bachmann and Abdelkader 2018, pp. 91 et seq.

  89. 89.

    Kreß 2017a, p. 423.

  90. 90.

    As a rule under human rights law cf. ECtHR, Judgement of 18 February 1999, Application no. 24833/94 (Matthews v. UK), paras 29 et seq.; ECTHR, Judgement of 30 June 2005, Application no. 45036/98 (Bosphorus v. Ireland), paras 150 et seq.

  91. 91.

    Generally, on separate legal personality and the question of lifting the corporate veil, see ICJ, Judgment of 5 February 1970 (Belgium v. Spain, Case Concerning Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company, Limited), p. 3 paras 55 et seq., ICJ Reports (1970); on the—mostly rejected—responsibility of member States for acts of international organisations, cf. Ryngaert and Buchanan 2011, pp. 131 et seq.

  92. 92.

    Zimmermann and Freiburg 2016a, Article 8bis para 96.

  93. 93.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 para 246, ICJ Reports (1986); ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), p. 168, paras 42–54, ICJ Reports (2005).

  94. 94.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), p. 168, paras 149–153, ICJ Reports (2005).

  95. 95.

    Dannenbaum 2017, pp. 1270 et seq., according to whom aggression is criminalised for its human core.

  96. 96.

    Cf. ILC 2001, p. 73, Article 20 paras 4, 8.

  97. 97.

    On the history and difficult legal questions, cf. Maris 1967, pp. 261 et seq.

  98. 98.

    Nolte 2010, para 1.

  99. 99.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case Concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), p. 168, paras 42–53, ICJ Reports (2005); see also Nolte 2010, paras 4–16.

  100. 100.

    Nolte 2010, paras 17 et seq.

  101. 101.

    Nolte 2010, paras 21 et seq.

  102. 102.

    On the debate and practical relevance, see De Wet 2017, pp. 308 et seq.

  103. 103.

    For the discussion on secession, the neutrality of PIL and the interest in State unity, see Tancredi 2014, pp. 68 et seq.

  104. 104.

    With UNSC Resolution 2216 (2015) of 14 April 2015 the UNSC initially reacted to the invitation with a strong condemnation of Houthi activities; on the legal assessment of the Russian intervention cf. Kenny and Butler 2018, pp. 172 et seq., arguing against its legality due to a R2P situation and the failure of the Syrian authorities.

  105. 105.

    Cf. Kreß 2017a, pp. 430 et seq., arguing that a government is not entitled to request a foreign use of force to support the commission of such acts. This, however, has to be distinguished from the request of assistance against an uprising that is not intended to commit violations of PIL.

  106. 106.

    In this respect, cf. ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 para 246, ICJ Reports (1986).

  107. 107.

    It might be discussed whether exceptions of the prohibition of the use of force already negate the application of Article 2 (4) UN Charter or whether they constitute a justification of a use of force that is prima facie prohibited by Article 2 (4) UN Charter.

  108. 108.

    Against Glennon 2009, pp. 88 et seq., holding that unlawfulness is not a requirement inherent in the concept of an act of aggression. See also Kreß 2017a, pp. 453 et seq.

  109. 109.

    UNSC Resolution 841 (1993) of 16 June 1993, para 13 on Haiti; UNSC Resolution 1132 (1997) of 8 October 1997, para 1 on Sierra Leone; UNSC Resolution 1973 (2011) of 17 March 2011, para 4 on Libya.

  110. 110.

    The concept of Responsibility to Protect was adopted in the 2005 World Summit ensuring to ‘take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII’, cf. UNGA Resolution 60/1 of 16 September 2005, para 139.

  111. 111.

    UNSC Resolution 1368 (2001) of 12 September 2001, preamble, recital 3; see also UNSC Resolution 1373 (2001) of 28 September 2001, preamble, recital 4.

  112. 112.

    On the topic, cf. Chinkin and Kaldor 2017, pp. 129–161; Nielsen 2010, pp. 151 et seq., arguing that primary law, yet not secondary law of attribution has changed after 9/11; and Williams 2011, pp. 563 passim, holding that the war in Afghanistan at least has become unlawful.

  113. 113.

    UNSC Resolution 2071 (2012) of 12 October 2012; UNSC Resolution 2085 (2012) of 20 December 2012.

  114. 114.

    On the various potential justifications and assuming that UNSC Resolution 2085 (2012) of 20 December 2012 does justify France’s military intervention, see Laird 2012, pp. 126 et seq.

  115. 115.

    Cf. Hobe and Fremuth 2011, p. 393.

  116. 116.

    See ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 paras 172 et seq., 193, ICJ Reports (1986).

  117. 117.

    On the debate, see Dinstein 2017, p. 208 paras 550–553.

  118. 118.

    The terminology differs, cf. Dinstein 2017, p. 223 para 582. For an opposing definition to the one adopted here, see Deeks 2015, p. 662.

  119. 119.

    For the opposing view on anticipatory self-defence and the ‘Caroline’-exception, cf. Dinstein 2017, p. 222 paras 580 et seq., who, however, creates the category of ‘interceptive self-defence’ (p. 231 paras 606 et seq.), which will most often fall under the term preventive self-defence as used here; for a sceptical, though not conclusive debate, see also Deeks 2015, pp. 675 et seq. (using, though, the term ‘pre-emptive’ self-defense against the wording adopted in this chapter). According to Kreß 2017a, p. 478 the question belongs to the grey areas.

  120. 120.

    Kretzmer 2013, pp. 247 et seq.

  121. 121.

    Neuhold 2015, p. 141; cf. also UNSC Resolution 487 (1981) of 19 June 1981 containing a rejection of Israel’s bombing of a nuclear reactor in Iraq due to the absence of an imminent threat.

  122. 122.

    Simpson 2005, pp. 170–178; Kreß 2017a, p. 475.

  123. 123.

    As invoked by the Bush administration, cf. Murphy 2004, pp. 174 et seq.

  124. 124.

    Cf. Ferencz 2009, pp. xii et seq., rejecting self-defense and any other justifications for the Iraq war and calling it a crime of aggression; dissenting Schmalenbach 2010, p. 748.

  125. 125.

    See ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 9 July 2004 (Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory), p. 136 para 139, ICJ Reports (2004); ICJ, Judgment of 19 December 2005 (Democratic Republic of the Congo v. Uganda, Case concerning Armed Activities on the Territory of the Congo), p. 168, para 146, ICJ Reports (2005).

  126. 126.

    Dinstein 2017, p. 241 para 634; Trapp 2015, pp. 679 et seq.

  127. 127.

    Cf. Tams 2009, p. 385 arguing for a more lenient standard of attribution; Chinkin and Kaldor 2017, pp. 160 et seq.

  128. 128.

    Couzigou 2017, pp. 53–55; Trapp 2015, pp. 696 et seq., holding that the parameters are still being worked out in practice.

  129. 129.

    Cf. Finke 2017, pp. 10–42; Starski 2015, pp. 455 passim, adopting a negative stance and referring to the responsibility of the UNSC. In UNSC Resolution 2249 (2015) of 20 November 2015, para 5 the UNSC has called upon Member States to take all necessary measures, i.a., ‘to eradicate the safe haven’ ISIL and its allies ‘have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria’. In that special case, however, Iraq and Syria had lost effective control over these territories.

  130. 130.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 462–467.

  131. 131.

    Article 50 (1) (a) ILC DASR; Crawford 2012, p. 288; ambiguous, however, ICJ, Judgment of 27 June 1986 (Nicaragua v. United States of America, Case concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua), p. 14 para 210, ICJ Reports (1986). The ICJ has, however, not repeated its obiter dictum on forceful countermeasures as ‘the exercise of some right analogous to the right of collective self-defence’.

  132. 132.

    With UNGA Resolution 50/52 of 15 December 1995 the UNGA declared the ‘enemy State’ clauses to have become obsolete.

  133. 133.

    For a brief discussion: Schrijver 2015, pp. 472 et seq.

  134. 134.

    Schrijver 2015, p. 474.

  135. 135.

    See ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019 (Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965), paras 163 et seq. (not yet officially published).

  136. 136.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 502–504.

  137. 137.

    Schrijver 2015, pp. 474 et seq., recognising a consistent element of State practice.

  138. 138.

    Kreß 2017a, p. 488.

  139. 139.

    UN Press Release SG/SM/7263 of 16 December 1999.

  140. 140.

    Valentino 2011, pp. 60 et seq.; Lowe and Tzanakopoulos 2011, paras 10–47 with further references.

  141. 141.

    The concept of Responsibility to Protect was adopted in the 2005 World Summit ensuring to ‘take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII’, cf. UNGA Resolution 60/1 of 16 September 2005, para 139.

  142. 142.

    The ICISS did not entirely rule out the legitimacy of unilateral humanitarian interventions, see ICISS 2001, pp. 53–55.

  143. 143.

    Cassese 1999, pp. 23 et seq.; Fremuth 2012, pp. 91–94.

  144. 144.

    Simma 1999, p. 22.

  145. 145.

    Reprinted in Kreß 2017a, p. 522.

  146. 146.

    Kreß 2017a, pp. 522 et seq.

  147. 147.

    Chemical weapon use by Syrian regime: UK government legal position para 4, published 29 August 2013 following the chemical weapons attack in Eastern Damascus on 21 August 2013, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/chemical-weapon-use-by-syrian-regime-uk-government-legal-position/chemical-weapon-use-by-syrian-regime-uk-government-legal-position-html-version (accessed 1 March 2021); Syria action—UK government legal position para 3, published 14 April 2018 following the chemical weapons attack in Douma on 7 April 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/syria-action-uk-government-legal-position/syria-action-uk-government-legal-position (accessed 1 March 2021).

  148. 148.

    See Scharf 2019, pp. 586 et seq., considering the air strikes against Syria as a transformative event for the acceptance of humanitarian interventions.

  149. 149.

    For a deeper discussion, cf. Kreß 2017a, pp. 489–502; Trahan 2015, pp. 54–80; sceptical on whether humanitarian interventions are excluded: Creegan 2012, pp. 69 et seq.; Brown 2014, p. 655, holding that humanitarian interventions are covered.

  150. 150.

    De Wet 2004, p. 113; Peters 2011, p. 21, stressing that the UNSC is not exclusively responsible.

  151. 151.

    On the debate, cf. Waxmann 2013, pp. 159 et seq.

  152. 152.

    Cf. Zimmermann 2018, pp. 27 et seq.; Schmalenbach 2010, pp. 751 et seq.; Kreß 2017a, p. 421.

  153. 153.

    Gifkins 2012, pp. 377 et seq.

  154. 154.

    Zimmermann 2018, pp. 28 et seq.

  155. 155.

    Cf. Wenaweser 2010, pp. 884 et seq.; Schmalenbach 2010, p. 749.

  156. 156.

    Cf. Zimmermann and Freiburg 2016b, Article 15bis paras 42–44, stressing that not the Pre-Trial Chamber but the Division has taken the decision due to the relevance and political sensitivity of such a decision; the UNSC can still request a deferral under Article 16 Rome Statute though (Article 15bis [8] Rome Statute).

  157. 157.

    Schmalenbach 2010, p. 746.

  158. 158.

    On the debate on restrictions of the right to veto, an ‘abus de droit’ and procedural requirements in the context of the responsibility to protect, cf. Peters 2011, pp. 13 et seq., 25 et seq.

  159. 159.

    Zimmermann and Freiburg 2016b, Article 15bis para 45, arguing in favour of a broader interpretation, though asking the ICC to accept highly persuasive relevant findings made by other judicial bodies.

  160. 160.

    Further reading: De Wet 2004, pp. 25 et seq.; Gowlland-Debbas 1994, pp. 643 et seq.

  161. 161.

    Schmalenbach 2010, pp. 748 et seq.

  162. 162.

    ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 20 July 1962 (Certain Expenses), p. 151, 168, ICJ Reports (1962); Schwindt 2000, pp. 199 et seq.

  163. 163.

    The ICJ itself has recognised, that it is not endowed with the ultimate authority to interpret the Charter, see ICJ, Advisory Opinion of 20 July 1962 (Certain Expenses), p. 151, 168, ICJ Reports (1962). However, according to Article 92 UN Charter it is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations and the ICJ has been labelled even as the ‘World Court’ representing the international community in its entirety, cf. Abi-Saab 1996, pp. 6, 3–16 passim.

  164. 164.

    Cf. Brown 2012, paras 80 et seq., calling pronouncements of the ICJ in fact a subsidiary source of international law.

  165. 165.

    The requirement to be ‘of recognized competence in international law’ is, by the wording of the norm, confined to juris consults (‘or’). In practice, the Court is composed of judges, practitioners and diplomats, most of which have proven their recognized competence by a firm legal schooling, see Aznar-Gómez 2012, paras 16–19. For an overview over the persons that have been elected so far and their background cf. ICJ 2013, p. 23.

  166. 166.

    According to Mackenzie 2013, p. 748 the statutes of courts with specialized subject-matter—as the ICC—tend to be more explicit in terms of specific experience required.

  167. 167.

    The line between clarifying what the law is and law-making is thin though, cf. Chan 2016, pp. 44 et seq. criticising the ICJ to establish customary law without reference to state practice or state consent.

  168. 168.

    Similar Schmalenbach 2010, p. 747.

  169. 169.

    Cf. Ruys 2018, p. 915, speaking of a defining moment in the development of the international legal order.

  170. 170.

    Kreß 2017b, p. 15.

  171. 171.

    Schmalenbach 2010, p. 752.

  172. 172.

    Wenaweser 2010, p. 887.

  173. 173.

    Lavers 2013, pp. 499 passim.

  174. 174.

    Creegan 2012, pp. 81 et seq.

  175. 175.

    IMT Nuremberg, Judgement of 1 October 1946, (Prosecutor v. Goering et al.), in: Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Volume I, Nürnberg, p. 154.

  176. 176.

    Brown 2014, p. 648 passim, holding that the definition of the crime is too indeterminate and that States are unlikely to accept the crime of aggression.

  177. 177.

    Cf. Boehme 2017, pp. 50–70 on the non-compliance of South-Africa with the ICC arrest warrant against al-Bashir as the result, i.a., of regional pressure; Kotecha 2018, pp. 939–962, providing for a rhetorical analysis of legalism focussed on the Office of the Prosecutor and addressing the use of a persuasive rhetoric as necessary to increase the legitimacy of the Court.

  178. 178.

    Similarly, Kreß 2017b, p. 14.

  179. 179.

    Yugoslavia and then Serbia and Montenegro filed applications instituting proceedings against several NATO States for alleged violations of their obligation not to use force. The ICJ was prevented from initiating provisional measures or rendering a judgment on the merits due to a lack of jurisdiction in all cases (see the overview presented by the ICJ under https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/110, accessed 1 March 2021). However, already in its orders of 1999 the Court expressed its scepticism on NATO’s unilateral action, e.g. ICJ, Order of 2 June 1999 (Yugoslavia v. Netherlands, Case Concerning Legality of Use of Force—Provisional Measures), p. 542 paras 17–19, 47–50, ICJ Reports (1999).

  180. 180.

    The term ‘war of aggression’ was proposed but finally abandoned for the price of the threshold clause, cf. Clark 2009, p. 1106.

  181. 181.

    Ruys 2018, p. 891.

  182. 182.

    On this topic concerning the relation between Article 15bis (4) Rome Statute towards Article 121 (5) Rome Statute and the restricting resolution ICC Resolution ICC-ASP/16/Res.5 of 14 December 2017, see Zimmermann 2018, pp. 20 et seq.; Schmalenbach 2010, pp. 750 et seq.

  183. 183.

    Ssenyonjo 2017, pp. 754 et seq.

  184. 184.

    Burundi left the ICC in 2017 and the Philippines in March 2019 (cf. ICC-ASP-20190318-PR1443); Adama Barrow, the new president of Gambia, revoked his predecessor’s notification of withdrawal in February 2017; it is unclear whether South Africa will remain a State party after the High Court in Pretoria ruled the executive decision to withdraw to be unconstitutional in 2017 (Case No 83145/2016) and the government halted the exit process.

  185. 185.

    On the attempt of the United States to marginalise the ICC, see Bosco 2014, pp. 71–75, 178.

  186. 186.

    ICC Appeals Chamber, Revised Order on the Conduct of the Hearing before the Appeals Chamber in the Jordan Referral re Al-Bashir Appeal of 6 May 2019, No. ICC-02/05-01/09-382 (Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al-Bashir), paras 100–132.

  187. 187.

    Cf. Dinstein 2017, p. 132 para 352 arguing that individual liability may weigh more than mere State responsibility.

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Fremuth, M.L. (2022). The Crime of Aggression and the Prohibition of the Use of Force—Reflections on the Relationship between the Rome Statute and General Public International Law. In: Bock, S., Conze, E. (eds) Rethinking the Crime of Aggression. T.M.C. Asser Press, The Hague. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6265-467-9_10

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