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The Crime of Aggression: The Quest for Justice in an Age of Drones, Cyberattacks, Insurgents, and Autocrats. By Noah Weisbord. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019. Pp ix, 257. Index.
American Journal of International Law  (IF3.091),  Pub Date : 2020-10-01, DOI: 10.1017/ajil.2020.57
Laura Dickinson

At the same time that Justice Robert H. Jackson helped to construct the Nuremberg tribunal at the end of World War II, he also sought to end aggressive war altogether. As he noted in his famous opening statement at the tribunal, the prosecution aimed “to utilize international law tomeet the greatest menace of our times—aggressive war.”1 Nevertheless, although the Nuremberg court tried twenty-two Nazi leaders—and subsequent war crimes trials in Germany and Tokyo prosecuted other military figures—the crime of aggression Jackson had championed became something of an afterthought. Subsequent to these proceedings, scholars and commentators largely viewed the aggression charges as problematic, and many have described the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity as the tribunal’s more enduring legacy.2 Indeed, even during the heady post-Cold War period that produced the ad hoc international tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda and the remarkable agreement to establish the International Criminal Court (ICC), the crime of aggression was excluded from the purview of these bodies. Yet a small band of international lawyers, of whom Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz was one, never let go of the ideal of defining the international crime of aggression and including it within the jurisdiction of an international criminal court (pp. 58–59). That ideal became a reality in 2010 in Kampala, Uganda, when the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court agreed to a definition of the crime and a path forward for including it within the ICC’s jurisdiction.3