Malaysiakini Letter

Rome Statute won't diminish our sovereignty or rulers' status

Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail

LETTER | The United Nations Association of Malaysia (UNAM) notes with regret the precipitate decision of the Malaysian government to withdraw from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is noted the Malaysian government was compelled to take this step.

The purpose of the court is to exercise jurisdiction over four categories of crime - genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression - only when it is established that the states where these crimes occur have been unable or unwilling to investigate such crimes. Constitutional experts have provided extensive analyses of the repercussions of this court’s mandate and more than 120 countries have ratified the statute.

The Foreign Ministry has deliberated on this statute for more than two decades and took an enlightened decision to recommend to the government to ratify it only late last year. As the agency entrusted to monitor the pace and pulse of international relations, the ministry's considered judgement must be given due weightage.

Accession to the Rome Statute will not diminish Malaysia’s sovereignty or affect the highly respected status of our rulers, including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

To give in to sentiment that accession of the Rome Statute will undermine the sovereignty of our rulers would suggest that the Malaysian people have allowed the threat of mischief to triumph over the truth.

UNAM trusts that the Malaysian government will reconsider the decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute. In the meantime, UNAM proposes that the parties that are opposed to the statute should be consulted and persuaded that accession to the statute does not in any manner affect their status, privileges and prerogatives.

The writer is president of the United Nations Association of Malaysia.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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