British House of Commons
Standing Committee D
Tuesday 10 April 2001
International Criminal Court Bill [Lords]
Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough):
“War is rarely, if ever, started or initiated by democracies  It is highly unlikely that the present Government or a successor Conservative Government would be an aggressor in the sense that I envisage that term being defined under article 5. It is the totalitarian regimes who will be guilty of the crime of aggression, and I doubt whether such regimes are likely to be susceptible to the jurisdiction of the ICC. Have any totalitarian regimes signed up to the Rome statute? If they had, would they ratify it? If not, is anything to be gained by including the crime of aggression in that statute”? [emphasis added]
I assume that the crime of aggression, when it is defined at the first review conference seven years after the coming into existence of the ICC, will bite only on countries that have signed up to the review process. They may be members of the ICC assembly of states parties. Although they will be willing to accept the existence of the ICC and, to a limited extent, its jurisdiction over their own territory and citizens, they may not accept the majority view on the crime of aggression.
France and, I think, Israel and several other signatories to the statute have already entered reservations. That suggests that they may not want, as the Foreign Secretary does, to travel the whole journey and sign up to everything in the statute of Rome. If such countries are not prepared to sign up to everything, will they be bound by the majority’s definition of the crime of aggression even if they are not part of that majority? Will their citizens, military or civilian, be accountable to the ICC for what the majority believes aggression to be? If so, to what extent will the purpose of the statute of Rome be undermined and destroyed, and its full effects inhibited, by minority countries taking a different view on aggression?
I am particularly concerned about the military, as we have had both formal and informal representations from former and current members of the armed forces about the effect of this legislation on their ability “in the case of current, serving members “to wage legitimate war on behalf of the United Kingdom. We wish to be able to reassure them that the Bill that we are discussing, and the statutes that will be incorporated, in part, into our domestic law, will not inhibit or in any way damage their ability to carry out their lawful duties on behalf of the people of this country in time of war.
Comments by Elias Davidsson:
 Wars and acts of aggression have been committed by numerous so-called democratic States in recent times, including the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom.