The President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, warmly welcomed the deposit at the United Nations on 17 July 2014 of the instruments of ratification of the 2010 amendments to the Rome Statute, by H.E. Mr. Martin Sajdik, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations.
The 2010 amendments to the Rome Statute are two sets of amendments that were adopted by consensus at the first Review Conference of the Rome Statute, held in Kampala, Uganda. The first of these amendments pertains to article 8 of the Rome Statute, which characterises the use of certain weapons during non-international armed conflict as war crimes. The second concerns provisions for the exercise of jurisdiction of the Court over the crime of aggression.
The crime of aggression was initially included in the Rome Statute in 1998 as one of the crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court, while the definition of the crime and the mechanism for the Court's exercise of jurisdiction were deferred to a Review Conference. The amendments adopted in Kampala, Uganda in 2010 define the crime of aggression and provide for the conditions for the exercise of jurisdiction over this crime. The Court may exercise jurisdiction over the crime of aggression once thirty States Parties have ratified the amendments, and subject to a decision to be taken after 1 January 2017 by the States Parties.
"The deposit of instruments of ratification by Austria brings the number of ratifications of the crime of aggression to fifteen," stated President Intelmann. "The Kampala Amendments, especially on the crime of aggression, strengthen the international legal framework that prohibits the use of force and increases the guarantees of peace and of respect for the territorial integrity of the States Parties to the Rome Statute. Thus it is encouraging that the pace of ratifications continues. I hope that other States Parties from all regions will follow suit."
Austrian Ambassador Sajdik remarked that, "The fight against impunity for grave violations of human rights and the strengthening of the International Criminal Court is a top priority of Austrian foreign policy. Austria is proud that by ratifying the amendments, it is not only supporting the International Criminal Court in the fight against impunity but also contributing considerably to the development of international criminal justice."
Austria ratified the Rome Statute on 28 December 2000, making it one of the first sixty States to contribute to the entry into force of the Statute, thereby establishing the Court. Austria also ratified the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the Court on 17 December 2003, and in 2002 it enacted legislation to ensure effective cooperation with the Court. Austria was also the first state party to conclude, in 2005, an Agreement on the enforcement of sentences with the Court.