In 1758, Emmerich de Vattel wrote of ‘the great guilt of the sovereign’ who undertakes ‘an unjust war’:
He is chargeable with all the evils, all the horrors of the war: all the effusion of blood, the desolation of families, the rapine, the acts of violence, the ravages, the conflagrations, are his works and his crime. He is guilty of a crime against the enemy, whom he attacks, oppresses, and massacres without cause; he is guilty of a crime against his people, whom he forces into acts of injustice, and exposes to danger, without reason or necessity, – against those of his subjects who are ruined or distressed by the war, – who lose their lives, their property, or their health, in consequence of it: finally he is guilty of a crime against mankind in general, whose peace he disturbs, and to whom he sets a pernicious example…
In 1998, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court echoed Vattel's condemnation by listing the crime of aggression, as one of the four core crimes under the Court's jurisdiction. Yet the exercise of jurisdiction remained suspended in the absence of agreement about the definition and about the jurisdictional conditions for the crime. Looking back over the decade that followed, the world is left to wonder how it might look different today if the crime had been fully included in the Rome Statute from the beginning and despair about the crime's brutality had been etched already then with a stronger acid into international criminal law.
ADOPTION OF THE AMENDMENTS ON THE CRIME OF AGGRESSION
Finally in 2010, the long-missing international accord on the definition and the jurisdictional conditions was achieved in Kampala, Uganda, when the Review Conference of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court adopted its historical resolution on the crime of aggression. A new seed for world peace was planted in Africa. Deciding by consensus and aiming at the full integration of provisions on the crime of aggression into the legal framework of the International Criminal Court, the Review Conference adopted amendments to the Rome Statute, amendments to the Elements of Crimes, and a series of Understandings.