Thursday, November 19, 2015

‘Delay in joining ICC, Arms Trade Treaty insensible


Malaysia’s delay in signing on to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Arms Trade Treaty makes no sense in an evolving international schema in which the writ of the big powers can only be curtailed by transnational bodies flaunting international statutes.

DAP MP for Ipoh Barat M Kulasegaran, who is secretary of Malaysian chapter of Parliamentarians for Global Action, told Parliament that all the excuses trotted out by the government in explanation of its reluctance to sign on to the ICC and the Arms Trade Treaty have been dismissed as “unsustainable and insensible”.

“After the downing of MH17 in Ukraine in July last year our continued evasions on enlisting with the ICC and the Arms Trade Treaty are not just unsustainable and insensible, our refusal to join renders us prostrate before marauding big powers,” argued the lawyer-legislator.

“If we had been a member of the ICC as the government signalled it had wanted to do four years ago, the Russian veto of the move in the United Nations to set up an international tribunal would have availed us recourse to the ICC, which upon our application for such a move as a member would have instituted its own investigation,” he expatiated.

Kulasegaran (photo) said the argument that joining the ICC leaves exposed our Agong as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to prosecution in the event of a filing by a complainant-nation was threadbare because it was easily demonstrable that our monarch’s hold on the role is ceremonial, not substantive.

“Therefore our monarch would not be liable under the terms of the Rome Statute of the ICC,” he said.

Kulasegaran said the wisdom and pragmatism that has prompted 12 nations to sign up with the ICC is not negated by the refusal of the United States Russia and China to sign.

“They are the big powers that feel their militaries needed to be protected from complainant-member nations of the ICC. Malaysia is not in that league and in fact, our small size is better protected as an ICC member than from being outside its ambit,” he said.

He said joining the Arms Trade Treaty, which has been ratified by 78 countries, with another 54 signed on though not ratified, will provide Malaysia with protection from leakages in the trade in conventional weapons.

“These leakages pose a threat particularly in this era where non-state actors like the Islamic State are active and pushing for expansion of their reach and influence,” he noted.

“In these precarious times Malaysia must avail itself of the shields and protection provided by international conventions and treaties that have been formulated for precisely the protection of the small and marauding powers and lawless non-state actors,” he said.

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