Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Botswana ratifies the Kampala Amendments

Botswana has signed an agreement to the amendments made to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and adopted by the review conference in Kampala, Uganda, in June 2010.

“We fully support the amendments adopted at Kampala and I am pleased to inform you that I shall be signing the instrument of the ratification during this opening ceremony,” said President Ian Khama, just before signing the amendments.

 The President was officially opening the two-day Workshop on the Ratification of Kampala Amendments to the International Court on the Crime of Aggression at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC).
 
Khama said by accepting the invitation to host the workshop, Botswana has been able to demonstrate her strong support and abiding faith in the instrumentality of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

┬á“Botswana believes that the adoption of the Kampala amendments on the crime of aggression has brought the international community a step closer to expanding criminal liability from individuals to aggressor states. As State Parties, we are bound by the Statute to cooperate with the Court by effecting arrest warrants and bringing perpetrators of violence to answer for the atrocities they commit against defenceless and innocent civilians, mostly women and children,” the President said.
 
Giving his opening remarks, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Dikgakgamatso Seretse, said the workshop is co-sponsored by the Principality of Lichtenstein and the government of Botswana.

“Botswana and Lichtenstein have a lot in common as they both uphold the rule of law at national and international level and are committed towards the protection and promotion of human rights,” Seretse said. ┬á

He says it is the first meeting of African States Parties to the Rome Statute on the Kampala Amendments to be held in the continent and that Botswana is honoured to be counted among countries that are leading the campaign on the ratification and implementation of the amendments.
 
In his remarks, United Nations Special Representative to the Secretary General (SRSG) to the African Union, Zachary Muburi-Muita, said over the past few years the UN Secretary General has promoted the idea that this is the ‘age of accountability’.┬á “This idea is built on the growing consensus among member states that each state has a reciprocal responsibility to end impunity by holding perpetrators of egregious crimes to account,” he said.

He said ever since the Nuremburg and Tokyo Trials after the Second World War, the international community has been seeking to better define the Crime of Aggression. “With Crime of Aggression, not only does the principle of complementarities apply but there is a larger role for the UN Security Council in determining whether an act of aggression has been perpetrated,” Muburi-Muita said.
 
Two amendments were made to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and adopted by the review conference in Kampala, Uganda, in June 2010.

The first amendment criminalises the use of certain kinds of weapons in non international conflicts.

The second amendment was about the Crime of Aggression, which was initially not properly defined in article 5 of the Rome statute, 1998.

┬áThe new definition on article 8, adopted in Kampala, defines the Crime of Aggression as ‘planning, preparation, initiation or execution by a person in a leadership position of an act of aggression’; it also includes the use of an armed force by one state against another without the justification of self-defence or authorisation by the Security Council.
 
The ICC will only have jurisdiction over the Crime of Aggression after it enters into force for 30 State Parties and after the Assembly of State Parties has voted in favour of allowing the Court to have jurisdiction after 1st January, 2017.

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