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ICC nations at odds over pursuing crimes of aggression

world Updated: Jun 13, 2010 13:25 IST

Reuters
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Dozens of countries deadlocked on Thursday in efforts to agree powers for the International Criminal Court powers to prosecute crimes of state aggression, arguing over criteria for triggering investigations.

At a landmark ICC review conference held in Uganda, delegates were seeking to agree a definition of state aggression and how ICC inquiries into the offence, one of four grave crimes the court has jurisdiction over, could be triggered.

In a late-night meeting on Thursday, in an effort to reach a compromise, delegates were given a new draft resolution outlining how the UN Security Council, the ICC or a state referral might set off a probe into an act of aggression.

Christian Wenaweser, president of the Assembly of States Parties that oversees the ICC, urged states to try and bridge the gaps as they are now under "considerable time pressure."

The issue has deeply divided states over the role the Security Council should play, with smaller nations wary of yielding authority to a world body dominated by five big powers.

Several draft papers and resolutions have been circulated among delegates this week.

One delegate said the latest draft resolution might still draw objections from smaller states as it allows the Security Council to thwart an ICC investigation with a so-called "red light clause." Other delegates said it was too early to comment.