The Rome Statute

This is Uganda-related, but not related to my presence here.  Starting this passed Monday, a two-week conference is going on in Kampala.  The International Criminal Court has called a meeting to review and amend the Rome Statute.  This has a lot of ramifications around the world, even in non-member states like the U.S.

Importantly, President Museveni spoke at the conference and called for a method of provisional immunity.  This comes straight from the villages of northern Uganda (and South Sudan, eastern DRC and CAR) where perhaps the only thing between Africa’s current longest-running war and peace was Joseph Kony’s indictment for war crimes.  This would be a game-changer in a lot of different fields as far as having a chance to achieve peace sooner and can be very important.  The review is also trying to find ways to increase the involvement of states and narrow the amount of impunity.

The important thing, though, is the two tracks of the review conference.  The conference will take stock of how the ICC has been operating and decide how to move forwards to make the court work better as well as consider amendments.  The big whopper is making decisions regarding wars of aggression.  If the definition of “war of aggression” is added to the statute then things like Israel’s attack on the Gaza flotilla and America’s use of drones might become deemed as war crimes through the use of pre-emptive strikes.  So keep an eye out.

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