aggression.Int’l  law.A  grave  breach  of  international  law  by  a  nation.  •  The  prohibition  of

aggression is a pe-remptory rule (jus cogens). Aggressors are guilty of an international crime. But

there  is  no  generally  accepted  definition  of  what  constitutes  aggression  despite  many  attempts

over the years to devise one. In 1974, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution

on  the  Definition  of  Aggression  (Resolution  3314  (XXIX)  of  December  14,  1974).  It  defines

aggression,  in  part,  as  “the  use  of  armed  force  by  a  State  against  the  sovereignty,  territorial

integrity,  or  political  independence  of  another  country,  or  in  a  manner  inconsistent  with  the

Charter  of  the  United  Nations….”  The  definition  does  not  extend  to  measures  that,  in  certain

circumstances, might constitute aggression,  nor  does it recognize exceptional circumstances that

would make the enumerated acts defensive rather than offensive. The U.N. Security Council has

never  expressly  relied  on  the  resolution  when  determining  whether  a  nation’s  acts  constitute  a

“threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression.” (See U.N. Charter art. 39, 59 Stat.

1031.) The difficulty of finding a generally accepted definition of aggression is reflected in Article

5 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (37 I.L.M. 999). It confers jurisdiction on the

Court over “the crime of aggression” but also requires the parties to the Statute to define the crime

before the  Court  can  exercise juris-diction.  [Cases:  War and  National  Emergency    1,  19.  C.J.S.

War and National Defense §§ 1, 5–6.]

“Although  classical  aggression  has  generally  been  thought  to  involve  direct  military

operations by regular national forces under government control, today subjugation and control of

peoples  may  well  result  from  resort  to  non-military  methods.  Economic  pressures  on  the  other

states; demands couched in traditional diplomatic terms but laden with implied threats to compel

action or inaction; fifth column activities; the endless propaganda harangue urging another state’s

peoples  to  rise  against  their  government;  the  aiding  and  abetting  of  rebel  bands  intent  on

overthrowing another government; and a wide range of other modern techniques must be included

in the concept of aggression in so far as they are delicts at international law, for they are directed

against the sovereign inde-pendence of a state.” Ann Van Wynen Thomas & A.J. Thomas Jr., The

Concept of Aggression in International Law 69 (1972).

direct aggression.Aggression in which a state’s regular armed forces participate.

indirect aggression.Aggression carried out by some means other than through a state’s regulararmed forces.

“[I]ndirect aggression  would seem to  have two  prime  meanings: (1) delictual acts armed  or

unarmed and con-ducted  vicariously by the aggressor state through third  parties which endanger

the essential rights of a state, rights upon which its security depends, and (2) delictual acts taken

directly  by  the  governing  authorities  of  a  state  against  another  state  or  vicariously  through

third-party  groups  which  do  not  involve  the  use  of  armed  force,  but  which  do  endanger  the

essential rights of a state upon which its security depends. No directly military operations by the

regular  armed  forces  of  a  state  are  involved  in  either  case;  therefore  the  aggression  can  be

regarded as an indirect method of constraint carried on by the aggressor state.” Ann Van Wynen

Thomas & A.J. Thomas Jr., The Concept of Aggression in International Law 69 (1972). [Blacks Law 8th]