A group of student activists today released an executive summary of a paper by four academics which they claimed was used to convince the Conference of Rulers to reject the Rome Statute.
"The arguments in the paper were very biased as they only discussed why the Conference of Rulers should reject the Rome Statute.
"We are making this revelation to create a dialogue among academics at all levels," the group said.
According to the leaked paper, it was presented on April 2 by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) law professor Rahmat Mohamad, International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) law professor Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) law lecturers Fareed Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.
The students said as ethical academics, they should have presented both the positives and negatives of the Rome Statute.
"They were the real cause of the confusion.
"We are making this revelation so that academics can come forward with their explanations for a healthy debate," he said.
The students' statement was jointly signed by Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi, Ainina Sofia Adnan Nurhuda Binti Ramli, Suhail Wan Azahar, Ahmad Taqiyuddin Shahriman, Wong Yan Ke, Chong Kar Yan, Nik Azura Nik Nasron and Siti Nurizzah Mohd Tazali.
The paper had among others, cited examples of war crimes tribunal against Emperor Wilhelm II and Emperor Hirohito, which preceded the International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute.
This, it said, proved that rulers were not immune from prosecution at the ICC.
The paper also claimed that Myanmar, which was not a party to the Rome Statute, cannot be brought to the ICC despite accusation of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya community.
However, the students said this was untrue.
They pointed out that the ICC had in September last year ruled that it has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh and that it was a possible crime against humanity.
They further pointed out that the US, despite not being a member of the ICC, was also being probed for possible war crimes in Afghanistan.
The students said the points made by the academics to the conference of rulers must be properly debated in public to avoid confusion.
On Friday, Mahathir announced Malaysia's withdrawal from the Rome Statute, citing confusion created by "one particular person who wants to be free to beat up people".
Malaysiakini is reaching out to the four academics for their response.
Editor's note (6.45pm, April 8 2019): Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) law professor Rahmat Mohamad today responded to Malaysiakini with the following: "I am aware of the matter (revelation by the student activist). I apologise as I am unable to make any statements at the moment.".