Aggression, International Law, and the ICC: An Argument for the Withdrawal of Aggression from the Rome Statute


The crime of aggression has been a mainstay of international criminal law since Nuremberg, and arguably years before. Despite its pedigree, the definition of aggression remains elusive. Although international criminal law has evolved dramatically over the past sixty years, legal thinking about the crime of aggression has not kept pace. This gap is most evident in the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, which includes aggression within its list of punishable offenses, but has yet to adopt a definition for it. This Note addresses whether the crime of aggression should remain such a key fixture in international criminal law, and concludes that the recent trend in international criminal law towards victim-centered, rather than perpetrator-centered, justice counsels against punishing individuals for the crime of aggression, and instead supports withdrawing the crime of aggression from the jurisdiction of the ICC. In addition, this Note concludes that if punishment is at all warranted, it should be borne by the state, since it is the state, not the individual, who is the perpetrator of aggression.