Thursday, November 3, 2011

Why Malaysia has yet to deposit instruments of accession to ICC with UN


Made a speech during the parliamentary debate on the financial estimate for foreign ministry n asked why Malaysia has not yet become a member of the International Criminal Court?

On the 8th and 9th March 2011, Parliament Malaysia hosted the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation on the Universality of the Rome Statute of the ICC, organised by the Malaysian Parliament and Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), an international network of national parliamentarians working to advance peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

President of the international Criminal Court( ICC) President Song addressed the forum. The Attorney General of Malaysia and the Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Dato Seri Nazri also addressed the forum. State holders from nine national legislatures also attended the forum.

On 21stMarch2011,Minister Nazri announced at a media conference that Malaysia had become the third country in Asean to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Malaysians were overjoyed by this announcement. Finally we will become a member of a International Criminal court which has jurisdictions to prosecute any individual who indulges in genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crimes of aggression.

Our status as a nation which adheres to the international and national laws in the eyes of the world gallery was enhanced. We stood tall.

The Malaysian Cabinet has approved the accession. But unfortunately the instruments of accession, which process is only a procedural one, has yet to be deposited with the UN in
New York.

Every time I make inquiries and get in touch with people involved in depositing the instruments I am told it will happen in the very near future or it will take place the following month.

More than 7 months have passed yet the formality of accession namely the depositing of the instruments of accession with the UN has not materialized.

Why the delay? Is the Government worried it cannot adhere to the basic tenets of the Rome statute?

Has the Malaysian Government taken a step backwards in the accession? Are they withdrawing their commitment to become a member the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court?

Even the Philippines which only announced its accession after we did, has formally become a member.

As of November 2011, a total of 117 countries have become members of the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court.

The undue delay in depositing the instruments of accession is unacceptable and has created more questions than answers.

The Government has to explain why it is dragging its feet on such a very important issue. The non depositing of the instruments of accession only further casts doubts on Malaysia’s commitment to rule of law and justice.

We need to act quickly before we are accused or seen as condoning the above heinous acts.

Deputy Minister later replied to matters raised

The Deputy Minister said the Government was committed to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court(ICC). He further agreed the Malaysian cabinet had agreed in Malaysia becoming a member of ICC.

But I was shocked by what he said next. He said Malaysia has not been able to deposit the instrument of accession as the Government wants to amend local laws to be consistent with the Rome statute. This is definitely way out from the Cabinets approval.

The process of becoming a member of ICC after Cabinet's approval is just a formality and any way no conditions were imposed by the Malaysian cabinet.

I asked the Minister what is the time envisaged for us to become a member of ICC. Also which laws need to be amended. The Deputy Minister refused to give a reply.

I believe there are some people out there to derail Malaysia's plan of accession.

I urge the Malaysian cabinet at its next meeting to consider and order the Foreign Ministry to deposit the instrument of accession the soonest possible.

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