Rome Statute would put international crimes under our laws, says Saifuddin

Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says the International Criminal Court will not interfere if the country acts against those who have committed any of the four international crimes. (Reuters pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Genocide, war crimes, humanitarian crimes and invasion will come under Malaysian laws if the country ratifies the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), says Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

Saifuddin said following ratification, the new laws must be included in local legislation either through the amendment of existing acts or the creation of new ones, without the need for amendments to the Federal Constitution.

“It (the Rome Statute) is at the international level. After it is ratified (if not withdrawn), the four international crimes should be criminalised in local courts. Does it require amendments to the constitution? The answer is, no.

“After we create the laws or acts, if there is someone or a leader, but not the king, not the royalty, involved in (any of) the (four) crimes, the Malaysian courts may prosecute him or her.

“If the Malaysian court has charged the person, the ICC will not interfere,” he said in an interview on the Ruang Bicara programme aired by Bernama News Channel here last night.

Saifuddin added that the ICC is meant as a last resort in cases where the country involved clearly takes no action against the offender.

He said as long as the country had the capability to bring about justice and punish the offender, the ICC would not get involved.

On April 5, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia had withdrawn from ratifying the Rome Statute due to political confusion among the people.

He said Malaysia, which had signed the statute on March 4, could withdraw from ratifying it before June.

The ICC is the first agreement-based international criminal court, aimed at ending immunity to the most serious criminal offenders considered a threat to the international community involving genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and invasion.

Previously, certain quarters had claimed that if Malaysia acceded to the Roman Statute, there would be a conflict of interest, and Malaysia would lose the freedom to draft its own laws and policies.

Saifuddin said Malaysia could still accede to the statute if it wished in the future as the decision to do so is voluntary.