International Criminal Court
14 May 2001 at 1:05 pm
The Federal Attorney General, Darryl Williams has defended Australia’s support for an international criminal court.
The Attorney General told a meeting organised by the Western Australian division of the Australian Red Cross that the ICC will prosecute perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
He told the Red Cross meeting that Australia has a proud history of defending international peace and security and of providing a safe haven for people who are escaping violence and persecution.
The Minister says there are those in the Australian community who have waged a fear campaign against the ICC but the government is confident that the Court will not be used as an instrument of social engineering or a “Kangaroo Court”.
He says the ICC will help to ensure there is no sanctuary for individuals who commit gross atrocities under the guise of war. It will act only when a country is unwilling or unable to genuinely prosecute serious crimes of international concern. It will not be retrospective, nor will it try governments or their policies.
The ICC Statute must be ratified by 60 countries – 29 have already done so, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Canada and New Zealand. The United Kingdom has introduced legislation into its Parliament to allow it to be ratified.
Australia has signed the Statute indicating that it will commit to the ICC at the same time the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on treaties is currently examining the Statute and conducting public hearings.
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