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The 2010 Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute empowered the International Criminal Court to prosecute the 'supreme crime' under international law: the crime of aggression. This landmark commentary provides the first analysis of the history, theory, legal interpretation and future of the crime of aggression. As well as explaining the positions of the main actors in the negotiations, the authoritative team of leading scholars and practitioners set out exactly how countries have themselves criminalized illegal war-making in domestic law and practice. In light of the anticipated activation of the Court's jurisdiction over this crime in 2017, this work offers, over two volumes, a comprehensive legal analysis of how to understand the material and mental elements of the crime of aggression as defined at Kampala. Alongside The Travaux Préparatoires of the Crime of Aggression (Cambridge, 2011), this commentary provides the definitive resource for anyone concerned with the illegal use of force.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court marks a turning point in the development of international criminal justice. That the Statute defines crimes in some detail instead of referring judges to customary international law is just one important innovation. And it gives rise to the challenge of interpreting these new treaty definitions. But is this really a challenge? In light of the well-established rules of interpretation in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), one may wonder whether there is anything special or new about construing the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute. In Dr Leena Grover’s well-considered view, the matter is not quite that simple, though. She believes that a treaty defining ‘the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole’ does indeed pose specific questions of interpretation. She points out that the Rome Statute itself recognizes this fact by setting out several rules to assist judges with answering these questions. Her ambitious goal is to formulate a method for construing the definitions of crimes enshrined in the Rome Statute in accordance with the rules of interpretation contained therein, and to integrate this method into the general ‘Vienna framework on treaty interpretation’, thereby forming a coherent whole. International legal practitioners might question the usefulness of such an ‘abstract’ scholarly exercise, and judges perhaps even fear that an elaborate doctrine of interpretation could only unduly tighten their hands in the necessary development of the law. Dr Grover anticipates both possible concerns. To the first, she responds with the conviction that nothing is more useful for practitioners than an organized toolbox of interpretive principles, arguments and aids. Accordingly, her reflections, while certainly most inspiring from a scholarly perspective, are directly addressed to judges at the International Criminal Court, their teams and lawyers appearing before them. Dr Grover takes great pains to address the second possible objection. She does not dispute the fact that her doctrine of interpretation would restrain judicial development of the law to some degree. On the contrary, this is precisely the intended effect of her book. In Dr Grover’s view, the first permanent international criminal court is exposed to a more stringent legitimacy test than its predecessors.