Didier Reynders and Annemie Turtelboom are pleased that Belgium is giving the International Criminal Court more criminal jurisdiction

date: 04 December 2013

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Minister of Justice Annemie Turtelboom are pleased that Belgium is giving the International Criminal Court in The Hague more criminal jurisdiction. Our country has implemented two amendments to the Rome Statute. It is on the basis of this Rome Statute that the International Criminal Court was established.

The two amendments were approved in 2010 at the first Conference on the Rome Statute in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Thanks to the first amendment, the International Criminal Court can now rule on the use of chemical weapons, such as poison weapons and poison gases and expanding bullets (so-called dum-dum bullets), both in international and non-international armed conflicts.

This amendment is called “the Belgian Amendment” because Belgium took the initiative for it. Our country wants to use additional proposals to further the work on harmonising the rules for the various types of armed conflicts.

The first amendment comes into force in Belgium on 26 November 2014. This makes our country the fifteenth Treaty State to ratify the amendment.

The second amendment introduces the definition of the crime of aggression into the Statute. It also determines the Court’s competency rules for this crime. This is a major step forwards, one that describes the crime of aggression by one state against another.

In 1998, the Treaty States opted at the Rome Conference to allow the Court to have crimes of aggression prosecuted. Thanks to the new definition, in time, persons suspected of crimes of “aggression” can be prosecuted. However, thirty Treaty States must first ratify the Rome Statute in this regard. After 1 January 2017, a decision must also be made concerning the enforcement of the powers of the Court.

Belgium is the twelfth Treaty State to ratify the second amendment.

The two ministers confirm that Belgium will continue to play a pioneering role in the fight against immunity from punishment for the most serious crimes.