Four crimes will be governed by Malaysian laws if Rome Statute ratified — Saifuddin

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KUALA LUMPUR (April 17): 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), said Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

Saifuddin said following ratification, the new laws must be included in local legislation either through the amendment of existing Acts or creating 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 After it is ratified (if not withdrawn), the four international crimes should be criminalised in local courts.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 aired by Bernama News Channel here, tonight.

Saifuddin clarified that the ICC was 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 get involved.

On April 5, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia had withdrawn from ratifying the Rome Statute due to political confusion among the people.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 Statute was deemed dangerous (to the country), the Prime Minister said the statute signed by Malaysia on March 4 could be withdrawn before June of this year.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 Malaysia acceded to the Roman Statute, there would be a conflict of interest, and Malaysia 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.