This essay submission authored by Melissa Gregg was awarded the Don & Kathy Sorochan Scholarship. For more information, visit here.

The legal community’s efforts to establish the crime of aggression (COA) under codified international law began in the aftermath of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, and has continued to-date. In 2010, the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) voted by consensus on amendments to the Rome Statute, bringing the COA into a state of partial-activation. The purpose of this study was to use a process tracing method to develop a systematic understanding of the mechanisms leading to agreement on the COA at the Kampala Review Conference, to assess the possibility of a final ASP activation vote (due to take place after 1st January 2017) and to analyse the impact the COA might have on the ICC’s role in the international community. Findings suggest that despite efforts to dilute the COA by some of the world’s most powerful states, a number of causal mechanisms facilitated consensus. These included: support from particularly influential delegates (individual personalities), momentum and norm-setting by the Chairman’s team, signalling by norm-compliant states (in particular ‘middle powers’), and encouragement from domestic (and/or academic) actors (lobbying). The piece closes with an assessment of the implications arising from the Kampala compromise, for the ICC, global governance, and the strength of international criminal law as a whole.

Read the full essay here.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

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