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Saifuddin: Four crimes will fall under local laws if Rome Statute ratified

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Genocide, war crimes, humanitarian crimes and invasion will come under local laws if the country ratifies the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

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

"It (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 After it is ratified (if not withdrawn), the four international crimes should be criminalised in local courts.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 on Bernama News Channel.

Saifuddin clarified that the ICC is meant to be the last resort in cases where the country involved clearly did not take any action against the offender.

He said as long as the country had the capability to bring justice and punish the offender, the ICC would not be 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On April 5, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia had withdrawn from ratifying the Rome Statute due to political confusion among the people.

While insisting that the decision was not based on the fact the Rome Statute was dangerous to the country, Mahathir said that Malaysia could withdraw from the treaty ratified on March 4 before June this year.

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 and crimes against humanity and invasion.

Previously, certain quarters had claimed that if the Rome Statute was ratified, the country would lose its freedom to draft its own laws and policies.

Saifuddin explained that Malaysia could still accede to the statute if it wished to do so in the future, as the decision to do so was voluntary.

- Bernama

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