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Immunity and the Crime of Aggression - The Legal Possibilities and Implications of Prosecuting Heads of State for the Crime of Aggression in National Courts and the International Criminal Court

Wikström, Amanda LU (2020) LAGF03 20201
Faculty of Law
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Efter aktiveringen av Internationella brottmålsdomstolens jurisdiktion över aggressionsbrottet i juli 2018 är dessa gärningar för första gången sedan Nürnbergtribunalen möjliga att väcka åtal för i en internationell domstol. Aggressionsbrottet kan bara begås av personer i position att effektivt utöva kontroll över eller styra politiska eller militära handlingar av en stat. Detta inkluderar, men inte enbart, stats- och regeringschefer. Denna studie undersöker möjligheterna att åtala stats- och regeringschefer för aggressionsbrott i Internationella brottmålsdomstolen. Artikel 27 i Romstadgan säger det vara irrelevant huruvida en person är en ämbetsman för att domstolen ska kunna utöva sin jurisdiktion. Men, som studien visar, är systemet för... (More)
Efter aktiveringen av Internationella brottmålsdomstolens jurisdiktion över aggressionsbrottet i juli 2018 är dessa gärningar för första gången sedan Nürnbergtribunalen möjliga att väcka åtal för i en internationell domstol. Aggressionsbrottet kan bara begås av personer i position att effektivt utöva kontroll över eller styra politiska eller militära handlingar av en stat. Detta inkluderar, men inte enbart, stats- och regeringschefer. Denna studie undersöker möjligheterna att åtala stats- och regeringschefer för aggressionsbrott i Internationella brottmålsdomstolen. Artikel 27 i Romstadgan säger det vara irrelevant huruvida en person är en ämbetsman för att domstolen ska kunna utöva sin jurisdiktion. Men, som studien visar, är systemet för immunitet inte den enda metoden för att skydda stats- och regeringschefer från att bli åtalade.
Det parallella systemet i den internationella sedvanerätten studeras också i kontrast till Internationella brottmålsdomstolens regler. Eftersom internationella brott bekämpas både i nationella och internationella domstolar jämför denna studie de två systemen med varandra. Genom att förstå dessa regler, både rörande aggressionsbrottet och immunitet för stats- och regeringschefer, ges insikt om olika juridiska lösningar som finns att tillgå.
Studien visar att möjligheterna att åtala en utländsk stats- eller regeringschef i en nationell domstol såväl som i den Internationella brottmålsdomstolen, är väldigt begränsade. Eftersom aggressionsbrottets status som internationell sedvanerätt är kontroversiell, kan det vara svårt för en stat att göra anspråk på jurisdiktion över brottet. Även om den lyckas med detta, tillkommer ett starkt immunitetsskydd för utländska stats- och regeringschefer, både under och efter deras tid på posten. Möjligheterna för Internationella brottmålsdomstolen å andra sidan, verkar vara begränsade på grund av bristen av stater som accepterar domstolens jurisdiktion över aggressionsbrottet. Det är även en politiskt känslig fråga. Slutligen är domstolens beroende av FNs säkerhetsråd för att kunna utöva sin jurisdiktion över aggressionsbrottet den kanske mest osäkra faktorn. (Less)
Abstract
Following the activation of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in July 2018, these acts are for the first time since the Nuremberg Tribunal possible to prosecute before an international court. The crime of aggression may only be conducted by persons in a position effectively to exercise control over or direct the political or military action of a State. This includes, but is not limited to, heads of state. This thesis examines the possibilities to prosecute heads of state in particular, under the crime aggression in the ICC. Article 27 of the Rome Statute states the irrelevance of official capacity when the Court exercises its jurisdiction. However, as the study finds, the legal system of immunity... (More)
Following the activation of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in July 2018, these acts are for the first time since the Nuremberg Tribunal possible to prosecute before an international court. The crime of aggression may only be conducted by persons in a position effectively to exercise control over or direct the political or military action of a State. This includes, but is not limited to, heads of state. This thesis examines the possibilities to prosecute heads of state in particular, under the crime aggression in the ICC. Article 27 of the Rome Statute states the irrelevance of official capacity when the Court exercises its jurisdiction. However, as the study finds, the legal system of immunity is not the only method of protecting heads of state from a court claiming jurisdiction.
The parallel rules in international customary law are also studied to be put in contrast to the rules of the ICC. As international crime is fought both in national and international courts, this study compares the two systems to each other. Understanding these rules of both the crime of aggression and immunity for heads of state gives insight into the different legal solutions at hand, and what factors that are balanced when conducting the fight against impunity.
The results show that the possibilities to prosecute a foreign head of state in a national court, as well as in the ICC are extremely limited. As the status of the crime of aggression as an international customary rule is controversial, it might be challenging for a state to claim jurisdiction over it. Even if overcoming this obstacle, foreign heads of state enjoy strong protection of immunity, both during and after their time in office. The possibilities for the ICC, on the other hand, seems to be limited by the lack of states accepting its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. For the State Parties, it is still a sensitive matter when the ICC prosecute heads of state. However, the ICC’s dependency on the UN Security Council to be able to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression might be the most uncertain factor. (Less)
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author
Wikström, Amanda LU
supervisor
organization
course
LAGF03 20201
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
public international law, international criminal law, international criminal court, crime of aggression, personal immunity
language
English
id
9010731
date added to LUP
2020-09-21 13:59:21
date last changed
2020-09-21 13:59:21
@misc{9010731,
  abstract     = {Following the activation of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the crime of aggression in July 2018, these acts are for the first time since the Nuremberg Tribunal possible to prosecute before an international court. The crime of aggression may only be conducted by persons in a position effectively to exercise control over or direct the political or military action of a State. This includes, but is not limited to, heads of state. This thesis examines the possibilities to prosecute heads of state in particular, under the crime aggression in the ICC. Article 27 of the Rome Statute states the irrelevance of official capacity when the Court exercises its jurisdiction. However, as the study finds, the legal system of immunity is not the only method of protecting heads of state from a court claiming jurisdiction.
 The parallel rules in international customary law are also studied to be put in contrast to the rules of the ICC. As international crime is fought both in national and international courts, this study compares the two systems to each other. Understanding these rules of both the crime of aggression and immunity for heads of state gives insight into the different legal solutions at hand, and what factors that are balanced when conducting the fight against impunity.
 The results show that the possibilities to prosecute a foreign head of state in a national court, as well as in the ICC are extremely limited. As the status of the crime of aggression as an international customary rule is controversial, it might be challenging for a state to claim jurisdiction over it. Even if overcoming this obstacle, foreign heads of state enjoy strong protection of immunity, both during and after their time in office. The possibilities for the ICC, on the other hand, seems to be limited by the lack of states accepting its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression. For the State Parties, it is still a sensitive matter when the ICC prosecute heads of state. However, the ICC’s dependency on the UN Security Council to be able to exercise its jurisdiction over the crime of aggression might be the most uncertain factor.},
  author       = {Wikström, Amanda},
  keyword      = {public international law,international criminal law,international criminal court,crime of aggression,personal immunity},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Immunity and the Crime of Aggression - The Legal Possibilities and Implications of Prosecuting Heads of State for the Crime of Aggression in National Courts and the International Criminal Court},
  year         = {2020},
}