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Govt told to be party to the Rome Statute

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Jan 2009: The Bar Council has called upon the government to immediately become party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to influence the promotion of international peace and stability.

Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today that the ICC is an independent and permanent court that seeks to strengthen the rule of law around the world.

“The threat of punishment against states and their leaders who commit the most heinous of crimes will serve as a deterrent.

“The ICC is a tribunal that receives widespread respect, and if fully supported, will go a long way towards bringing about lasting peace by punishing all those who perpetrated crimes against their fellow human beings,” she said in a statement today.

Ambiga said the Bar Council therefore welcomed in principle the Parliamentary resolution, moved by the Malaysian Government on 12 Jan to establish a UN-sponsored War Crimes Tribunal to investigate these acts.

She said there could be no lasting peace without bringing to justice those who committed crimes against humanity.

The reaction of nations that choose politics over human rights and morality, and which refuse to denounce or contain such acts, is disappointing, she added.

“We must therefore turn enduring institutions set up by the international community that call for such acts to be accounted for.

“It is thus imperative that nation states subscribe to these institutions to give them the moral and legal authority to deal with blatant human rights and humanitarian abuse worldwide,” Ambiga said.

As of January 2009, 108 countries are party to the Rome Statute, which was adopted in July 1998 to establish the ICC’s functions, jurisdiction and structure.

In 2002, the United States and Israel withdrew from the Rome Statute, indicating that they no longer intended to become parties to it. — Bernama


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